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 Montgomery and Detroit

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:21 pm

Two and a half years later

"Dammit, Gabriel", I said, shaking off the papers which had a coffee spill on them. I had a stupid as fuck PA. He was a clumsy, sleazy, fake, never-on-time arsehole. If it was my decision, I would have fired him months, no, years ago. Sadly, it's not. I have found at least four grey hairs on my head since I started working here.

"Sorry, doc. Shoulda watched my step", he said and kept on chewing his fucking gum. This was the sixth or maybe seventh time he spilt coffee on my papers, and I don't think the girls in the library will allow me to print a fifty page document again.

"That's it!" I exclaimed. "That is it."

"What is it, doc?"

"I quit! There's a fine line between tolerance and hitting your head into a solid surface multiple times ignoring that it is, in fact, a bloody door. This is me, opening the door and getting the fuck out of here." I shoved my laptop (it's a miracle it's still alive. Coffee spill count: three), my phone (coffee spill count: one. I keep it in my pocket of my jeans so it was the worst spill I had to endure) and what I had left if my dignity into my backpack, put on my jacket and a hat, and I was out of there. "If you wouldn't mind telling the boss that I'm leaving, that would be great."

I shut the door behind me and stomped off outside.
Since I didn't have a car, that meant standing in the September British rain without an umbrella, waiting for a train home.

I felt strangely powerful and weak at the same time. Powerful, because I finally quit my job which I loathed for years, and I partially felt like dancing. On the other hand, I had just quit my job. No job, no money, no flat. Shit.

When the train arrived, I sat somewhere in the back, so that when the ticket control came in, I would be the last one to be checked. They may not even notice me. I don't want to be noticed. The ticket control guy tends to flirt with any living thing he gets his eyes on, and I'm sick of pretending to be disgusted by his behaviour, when, in reality, if the situation was different (and if I hadn't seen him flirt with more girls than guys), I would have asked him out. But, the situation is as it is.

In lack of a better occupation, I took out my phone and went through some of the pictures on it. I didn't have many of those, so I moved onto music. When I saw the titles of songs which I knew all too well, I went out of the music folder. Nothing to be seen there.

Then I went through my contacts. I, also, didn't have a lot of numbers saved. I had Alana, my ex-boss, my dad, Gabriel, mum, some of my cousins, and that was it. It just made clear that a thirty-one year-old me didn't have much of a life. All I did for the past couple of years was work.

Then I came across an interesting name. 'Summer Holiday'. Huh. I remember having her phone number, but under the name of Summer, not Summer Holiday. It must have been changed by someone, but only one person came to mind. No, it can't be him. That was way too long ago, I would notice if a name had been changed in my contacts.

But, then again, no, I wouldn't. I never check my contacts, because I (mostly) know the numbers in it by heart. And yet I still don't believe I hadn't noticed it. I glanced at my backpack. In the front pocket there was a bulge, and in the pocket there was the little stone sculpture. It would be a lie to say I haven't given way too much thought to it.

Something in me made a decision and I dialed Summer's number, without even realising I was doing it. I placed the phone against my ear, and waited through the rings. A bit after the sixth ring, she picked up.

"Hello? Who is this?" I heard her through a bunch of background noise. From what I could tell from those sounds, she was in a hospital. I paniced for a second before remembering that she worked in hospitals.

"Hi, Summer?" I thought she had my number.

"I'm sorry, but who are you exactly? This is a new phone, I still haven't managed to transfer all my contacts."

"It's Detroit."

Silence.

Great. Silence and babies screaming in the background.

"You fucker." I did not know in which way she meant it, so I stayed silent. "Detroit, where the hell have you gone?" Okay, I think this is her happy tone. I should be safe. "Had your fun with us and left us in the fiery shambles after? Hey, how's it going, man, I missed you! What have you been up to?"

There were too many questions packed in so little time.

"Err." And I started talking, because it was kind of obvious she wanted to know everything. I told her about my shitty work, my flat with the best view but with the worst door locks (won't even dig deeper on this one), and generally complained about my life. I finished it off with, "and now I'm unemployed, with a rent to pay and no life to return to. So how's your life?"

She stayed silent for suspiciously long. I could literally hear those tiny metal gears turning in her head.

"Summer?"

"Sorry, yeah? No, Detroit, I'll have to call you later, just… Don't do anything. Don't search for a job or a new flat, just stay right there where you are. I have a plan." She hung up. I stared at my phone for a few seconds.

Whatever her plan was, I knew it can't be good. But everything was better than this.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:31 pm

I arrived at the flat an hour later, soaking wet, with no sign of Summer on my phone. When I came in, I threw my backpack on my bed (it was not a long backpack flight) and kicked my suitcase into its place, leaned against the door. I've learnt my lesson, thank you very much.

Well, she told me not to do anything? Okay, I am nothing but patient and obedient. Ha.

And, like a proper Englishman, what I've managed to become again, I made myself a cuppa and watched some shitty half-arsed half-reality show while waiting. Summer called one and a half episode later.

"Detroit I've come up with the best fuckin' idea I think I drank half a Starbucks my heart is beating like a hummingbird I'm going to die but before I do I'm going to tell you my perf brill plan", she twittered into the phone.

"Whoa there, Sum, take it easy." I took a second to process what she just said. "What's the big idea?"

"DETROOIT. Detroit. Doctor Det. This idea will blow your fuckin' brains out and you will have to collect them with a tooth pick."

"Miss Summer. Breathe."

"It's Doctor Mrs Summer for you, arsehole. Got married this spring. Whee, what a honeymoon it was. Wheee." She started singing Livin' on a Prayer and completely ignored me.

"SUMMER."

"Shit, Detroit, you're still here?" I don't believe this girl.

"You were supposed to tell me your idea. You're not high, are you?"

"High on happiness, and espressos. So very high."

"Please tell me your bloody idea or I'll hang up on you and leave to your poor husband for handling."

"What made you think it's a husband?"

"Isn't it?"

"Yeah."

"I'm hanging up now."

"Okay, party pooper. What do you feel about Leeds?"

I literally have no specific feelings about the city of Leeds. None whatsoever. Completely indifferent.

"Leeds?"

"Yeah. My plan involves you moving to Leeds."

"What kind of a plan is it exactly?"

"A brilliant plan."

I hung up, just to see her reaction.

She called again screaming on the other side.

"Detroit fucking Shalil I'm doing this for your well being also for a close friend of mine and ours don't you dare hanging up on me you twat."

"Tell me your goddamn ide— wait. Wait, hold up. A close friend?"

"That's what I'm trying to say but you won't listen. Will you just calm down and listen?" I have to calm down? Also, when did Summer start swearing so much? I blame that husband of hers. Oh, and working in a hospital. God knows I've taken up swearing also.

"I am calm."

"Don't sound like it."

"Please, Summer."

"Okay." Summer took a deep breath before continuing at a reasonably moderate speed. "My plan is this. I am currently in Leeds, in the position of the main psychologist. However, in the light of recent events—whoa, fancy sentence—I have to move to Scotland, and the position will be opened. I can certainly get you over the line for it."

"You're telling me you will get me a job in Leeds?"

"Yeah! Isn't that awesome?" I was getting more and more lost with every second.

"Hm? But… Leeds is kinda far, Summer, I'm in Reading. And how will I get a place to stay? Your plan isn't exactly foolproof."

"I said I got a plan. Well, the first one I think you can deal with yourself. You went all the way to Reading once, remember? Moving far is kind of your specialty. As far as the latter one goes, I got that covered. Just… Show up at the address I'm going to text you in a moment, and show up there whenever you can. Change is good for you, and you're probably going to thank me for the rest of your sorry life." She hung up.

And I spent the rest of the episode like I did before the call(s). Sipping my tea and thinking about my life.

I mean, I could go, right? A job, new surroundings, it would do me well. It costs just a train ride, and it could give me a better start.

No, seriously, all cliches aside, I was really considering to go. Summer seemed excited enough for me to come. I got up and almost reflexively started getting my clothes out of the drawers to put in the suitcase. Why not.

I did some quick maths. It takes approximately ten minutes to tell the landlady that I'm moving out and pay the rent for this month. Lucky for me, it was the twenty-eight. It takes me less than half an hour to pack all my things into less than three suitcases. It takes four to five hours by train to Leeds. It takes about an hour to do the job interview and get the job. About a week of struggle with the paperwork. That's all that takes.

And I decided that I'd go.

I replaced the door lock suitcase with my desk chair and put my clothes in it. It's sad, that even after settling down in England, I have so little things I own. Clothes, a couple of notebooks, a dozen books and a figurine my mother gave me for good luck. I think it's passed on in her family. But that was it. This was my life, a story which you can tell in a minute. No friends, lovers, no present, and the future is kind of shady also. Not a great headstart, if you ask me.

Maybe moving to Leeds will help. Here, in Reading, in the beginning I didn't even bother to make particular bonds with anybody. At the moment, I really didn't want company. Maybe a shitty ending ruined my chances of ever being good friends with anybody. Now, I'll try to win people over with the only good thing I own; my charisma. Again, sad. My life is sad.

But the worst thing is, I don't mind it. I don't need much in my life to keep moving forward. Of course, that didn't leave much room for personal growth, but you can't get everything you wish for.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:39 pm

The next morning, at 8.53, I took a train to Leeds. The trip was, just as I thought, four hours and a half long, so it was enough time to call Summer three times, just to check on the job position, the place where I'm staying, where is the hospital exactly, and other questions, a little bit more useless than the first couple of ones. In the end, Summer said that I should get the job first before going to the flat, and I agreed with her, even though I believed I'd get lost in Leeds. I've never been, so I am completely dependable on maps, people and that gut feeling all doctors have. We can smell a hospital from afar. Or so I've been told.

However, I must not be such a good hunter doctor, because when I arrived and got off the train, I was completely lost, with my suitcases, backpack and a map of Leeds, like I'm a tourist. As I walked around searching for the hospital, I made small notes about restaurants and bars and small shops and stuff. After all, if this goes well, I'd be living here, and therefore I needed to grow accustomed to this town. Soak it up.

After way too long, I found a hospital. Not just a hospital, the hospital. You know how I knew? Because there was a Summer, waiting to greet me. When she noticed me, she jumped up like a small, overly-excited child and rushed to me, pulling me into a bearhug.

"Hey, Summer", I said, talking into her frizzy, unruly hair. She laughed, for no particular reason, and I laughed with her.

"Mister Detroit, I thought I'd never see you again, that you were swallowed by mother Earth", she said and backed away from the hug.

"And yet, we're here. Same goes for me. I'm sure we do have loads of catching up to do, maybe inform me about your husband and stuff", I nudged her with my elbow, "but right now, we don't really have time, do we?" I asked and glanced at her watch. I thought I was a little bit late, and I was correct. Wandering around the town couldn't have done any good.

"Yeah, I agree. I'll just lead you through the place", she pointed behind her, "and then leave you to the interview. I have work to do, too, you know, my life doesn't revolve around you.

"Thanks", I said with a smile. I forgot how much I liked her. She was probably the best friend I've had since high school. College was just one big ball of mess, and it's a miracle I survived it.

Summer walked me around the hospital and showed me the main areas (which I instantly forgot) and after a short tour, she left me in front of an office.

"I told them I had a friend who was a great doctor, so they're waiting for you", she said. "I hope you do have all your papers with you."

"Yeah", I tapped my backpack. " 's all here. Say, they wouldn't mind me coming in with all my luggage? I haven't exactly had a chance to leave them somewhere."

"Nah, they won't mind, as far as I'm concerned. You know, they've grown quite fond of me, so you're undoubtedly getting the job."

"Thanks", I said. I had a feeling I was thanking you too much, but, after all, she and her clever little brain came up with the whole 'Great Detroit Move Out' thing, and she deserved to be thanked.

"Don't even mention it, it was a pleasure", Summer smiled. "I'm not even doing it fully for you. It's partially for my well being, because I like my friends happy, and partially, well… It's a surprise for you. You'll see. You still have the address on your phone?" she asked, preparing to leave.

"Yes, I do. Do I go there after this interview, or?"

"You do. Your interview will last, what, half an hour, then you head directly there. And, Detroit", she started before she left. Now, I had a feeling she was going to come up with something world-shatteringly ground-breaking, but no. "Please, this time ask people for directions. Otherwise you will get lost and your walk will last an hour longer than it should."

"Wow. Thanks, Summer." This time, it was sarcastic, but who even counts. "I'll try to remember that."

After that half-serious conversation, I walked into the office, for a fully serious one. I must say I'm rather proud of my interview, and even if I didn't have any connections in shape of Summer and her magnetic personality, I think I would have got the job.

They asked a couple of questions about my previous work, and that's where I was a bit vague. I don't like talking about my first real workplace. It's still a memory that's a bit rough around the edges. However, I said a bit more about my work in Reading, but, considering I'd've worked there for a longer period, I think I had all right to do so.

When that was done, they told me I got the job, gave me directions for my next day of work, and then it dissolved into casual small-talk. One of the doctors there was the boss of my department, and she seemed nice enough. (Although, she did say that I reminded her of male Summer. Not quite sure what to say about that.) With that being said, I don't think it can be worse than my Reading days. Here, people seemed to be more professional and sophisticated, but knew when to joke around and relax, which was just what I wanted. I felt comfortable around them, and they didn't look tense around me. Yes, I think this could work.

I left forty five minutes after coming in, with an invitation to go get coffee with the younger department leader, which is under consideration still.

Now, when that was done I went to search for my flat, with my fingers crossed in my pocket for… Something. I don't know what, but something.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:43 pm

The address which Summer gave me lead to a small house, which was odd, because I thought it was a flat. I haven't lived in a house for at least fifteen years, so it was a rather nice change from all the student homes, tiny flats and offices. Well, an office.

I guess I should be able to speak about that specific period of my life now. I've certainly thought about it a lot, maybe too much, but I haven't spoken about it. I don't want to. It still feels too unstable. It's chemicals. Nitroglycerin.

I don't want to talk about it because I'm unsure of my feelings towards that particular situation.

But the past is another land, and it's the present I have to worry about.

I walked up to the door and put down my luggage before attempting to open the door. Nothing. It didn't move an inch. Locked, I guessed. Summer wasn't stupid, she wouldn't leave me in front of a locked house alone, right? I decided to knock, and waited for about a minute before hearing footsteps, and mumbling something quietly which I couldn't translate to legible English.

"Hello?" I called. "Summer told me to get here around this time, but she might have tricked me", I confessed. When I think about it, she could have screwed around with me. Hopefully not.

The footsteps stopped, and then rushed towards the door. It opened.

"… Detroit?"

I'm pretty sure my heart stopped beating for a second there. The full sensation of shock struck me. All the dizzyness, stomach dropping, mouth drying, sharp exhaling, and more.

"Montgomery", I said, and stated the obvious.

It was him, in flesh and blood. Actually, in a bit more flesh than I last saw him. He changed. His shoulders widened, which basically screamed normal, balanced diet (finally), his hair looked healthier, and that's all I could notice because most of my mind was focused on staying up on my feet.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, his voice shivery. The way he was looking at me through his glasses (more clean than I was used to seeing them) made me weak. It was a downpour of emotions, and I was just hoping he wouldn't hit me.

Of course, I didn't expect kisses and roses, but a hug would be nice. Him just standing there made me feel like I was longing something. The whole feeling was too nervewracking.

"Summer told me that I'm moving in", I glanced at my luggage.

"Here?" he asked. The uninterestedness in his voice bothered me more than it should. After all, I was just his doctor. But he was so much more to me.

The whole reason I left him was because I saw I was falling in love with him. At the moment, it was too complicated. His condition, my aftergrad, our doctor—patient relationship, and many other factors. Two years have passed, and it still is complicated. But—

No, no, I'm not even considering that as an option. It's an awful thing to do, to leave someone and then flirt with them. Just— no. I have morals, actually.

"Yeah, here, I'm guessing she lived here but now is moving out?" I asked, trying to copy the nonchalance in his posture as he stood leaned against the door frame. At least his fashion sense didn't change. Grey minimalistic t-shirt, jeans and bracelets. It's nice to know that some things stay the same.

"She did, married that bloke of hers and she was out." Montgomery started investigating the tip of his shoes, like it was the most interesting thing in the world.

"… May I come in?" I asked. It was a long day for me, and I really wouldn't mind a bit of rest from all the surprises today.

"Yes, you may", Montgomery said and removed himself from the door so I could roll into the house.

It was a small house, and I could see how Montgomery and Summer made it theirs. I saw clothes thrown over a hat hanger, with random patches of emptyness where, I guess, were Summer's jackets. I saw some work-in-progress pebbles on the desk on my right, and I remembered that I still had the totem in my backpack.

I regret leaving him alone so much.

"And… Which one is my room?" I asked, looking at the three doors on my left. One must be his room, one bathroom, and one mine. Montgomery looked at the second one.

"That one."

"Thanks." I felt miserable, rolling into my room with Montgomery watching me silently, with crossed arms on his chest. I closed the door behind me and dropped on the bed.

Why did Summer do this? Didn't she know why I left? It seemed surreal, that just a wall away, there stood Montgomery, with similar thoughts in his head.

It took me fifteen minutes to arrange my thoughts, and in the meantime, I unpacked one of my trunks.

Here's a conclusion: maybe this was a good thing. Maybe Summer wanted to bring us together. Maybe we could continue being friends.

Bullshit. I didn't believe a word of it. I don't think I could consider Montgomery as a friend ever again, and I hope the feeling's mutual. I saw the way he looked at me that last day. But, if the feeling was shared, it could end that either we end up together or, again, one of us leaves, and I didn't like my odds.

After I unpacked, only one thought in my mind was for sure. So I went ahead to make it into reality.

I opened the door and walked up to Montgomery who was sitting on the sofa.

"Look", I started, being watched by his infinitely deep brown eyes. "I have nothing better to say than I'm sorry. I can't tell you why I left, and I'm sorry. I hope you'll forgive me one day."

I returned to my room before he even spoke a word.
Tomorrow, and the future, seem much brighter than today, and I hope they will be as bright as they seem. Because today was desperately hopeless.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:53 pm

Tomorrow he was there when I woke up, leant against the doorframe, again.

"Good morning", he said, his voice unreasonably blank. His hands were crossed, and eyes carefully observing me. There's no saying how long had he been there.

"Mornin'", I stretched. What was he doing in my room? I noticed that he was already dressed, even though it couldn't have been more than eight in the morning. I looked forward to leaving for work for a second before I realised it was Saturday. Rats.

"I made some tea", he said, glancing down. He was probably avoiding to look me in the eyes. I would probably do the same. The air felt unusually heavy. "Care to join me?"

"Sure." I normally prefer to drink tea in the afternoon, but any tea is good tea.

Maybe Montgomery and I could play the game of 'what if'. What if I hadn't left? What if everything was as it is supposed to be?

In that case, as well as this one, we'd still sit in front of the same two steaming cups of tea. Some things change, but we'd be drinking the same tea, because some things don't.

I got up and followed him to the living room, which was a sofa, a coffee table and a television in the middle of the room. In one corner of the room, there was a door, and in the other, a kitchen, reasonably big for such a small house. We sat on the sofa and watched telly, sipping Earl Grey.

It almost felt... Natural. Like it's the proper way. I felt like I should talk, but I didn't. He was the first one who spoke.

"I must say, you're the last person I expected to see moving in after Summer."

"Same thing goes for you."

Silence again. But, Montgomery kept on talking.

"I haven't seen you in two years, and yet you didn't change." That sentence was a typical textbook example in the 'meeting new friends' lesson, and it had as much honesty as a commercial for diet pills. He would have been better off without it.

And, yet, again, it meant that he started initiating conversations. If I had taught him anything…

"As opposed to you", I replied. "If I saw you on the street I would've said, 'look, this person looks like Montgomery'. You are different", I said.

"I feel different", he said. "I don't know, sometimes the changes go slow, and sometimes they don't."

"How have you been?" I dared to ask. He stared at his cup for a second, but his response came calm and steady.

"Good, I guess. A few weeks after you left, Summer graduated, and she made me pack my bags and move here with her, where she got a new, better job. And that's about it."

"How come you went with her?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time." That comment was so endlessly cynical and so Montgomeryesque, it got a smile from me and I looked away to hide it. He noticed, and stayed fixated on my lips for a couple of seconds. It took me few deep breaths to calm down. He was curious about the smile, I told myself. Why would he look at my mouth otherwise?

"And what have you done with your time? Got a job?" I couldn't help but ask. I remember him saying once, that he can't see himself as anything but a sculptor.

"Not in the actual sense of the word, but I sometimes sculpted for Summer's friends at work."

"Now you'll sometimes sculpt for my friends at work."

"Yes."

I hoped my comment would get me at least a smile. But nothing. We start anew.

"It's that all you do?" I asked. "Sit around and watch television?"

"Old habits die hard", he said. I noticed that, near the desk where Montgomery's projects were, was a radio, and the albums, which had drawn on covers. I knew them all too well.

"You kept them." I couldn't help the melancholy in my voice. I thought that, after I left, he would burn everything I had touched. And yet again, maybe I give myself more points than I'm worth. He followed my gaze.

"Of course I did. They're the only CDs I own", he said. Oh. Fair enough then.

"Don't you do anything besides sculpting, you know, to fill your days?" I asked. "Like, go out, meet people, you know, stuff like that?"

"Well, I don't know if you'd put it that way, but I have been going out. Turns out I haven't missed that much in ten years."

"Not the important stuff, at least." I said. "You know, usually people pick something to pass their time with. I've seen way too many patients who, after years of therapy, when they finally got out, took up smoking, because they felt like something was missing in their life."

"I don't feel like anything's missing", Montgomery admitted. "But I have found a… How did you put it, something to pass my time with."

"Oh?" I encouraged him to continue.

"His name is Leonard, Summer introduced us, and things escalated."

Things did escalate.

"Wait, what? Sorry, didn't quite get that."

"Summer introduced me to my boyfriend?"

Shit.

"Oh. Okay, it's more clear. So he's your time spender?" I asked. My mouth went full autopilot while my brain was tearing itself up into a million pieces.

And why wouldn't he go out and date, find himself a boyfriend and be happy with him? It was his right, as a free man. I didn't own Montgomery; nobody saved him for me.

The early bird catches the worm, I guess. If I told him earlier, we could have had a chance. Now, nothing.

But at least I know where I am at. Don't flirt with Montgomery, he's dating someone else, who isn't you.

"Yes. In fact, I think he might come over today." I wanted to kill Summer. She raised my hopes and murdered them.

"I'm looking forward to meeting him, then." Autopilot, while I was burning on the inside.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:07 pm

Leonard came over around two o'clock, while Montgomery and I were making lunch.

It took us less than a few minutes to return to where we once were, and when we did, it was like I never left at all. (Of course, I did leave, and we promptly avoided to talk about it.) We could ignore it, because the reasons which made me leave weren't valid anymore

"Where's the salt?" I asked, trying to figure out my way in the completely new situation.

"Look in the lower cabinet, it must be somewhere in there", he replied, at which I gave up.

"You know what, you do the cooking and I'll play some music, okay?"

"Lazy arse", he commented. I also noticed that he got much more relaxed around me, which meant everyone else as well. Ha. I knew that he was capable of fixing himself, I just gave him the proper tools to do so.

"I'm not lazy, I simply don't know where everything is, I'll just slow you down", I said and put a random CD in the radio. Before pressing play, I glanced at Montgomery. "You know, I bet The Beatles are going to play."

"What makes you think that?"

"Maybe because half of the CDs you own are The Beatles. It's a fifty-fifty bet."

"And the bet is…?"

"If you win, I cook."

"Deal."

The CD was The Who. I took over the kitchen as Montgomery went to open the door, because in the meantime, someone knocked.

"Hey, Leo."

"Hi, Mon!"

So that was Leonard. I didn't look up from my work until I was mentioned, and that was thirtyish seconds after. Did they hug or kiss, I didn't find out.

"And who's this?"

I looked up and put on my polite, doctor face.

"I'm Detroit, hello."

Leonard was maybe a year or two younger than Montgomery, brunet, white, Irish, with those so-called hipster eyeglasses. He was wearing the classical hoodie-jacket-ripped jeans combination with high Chuck Taylors, and generally looked as perfect as if he just walked out of a movie set. Ahh, jealousy, my old companion.

"Nice to meet you", he said with a big smile. "Detroit, like that city?" Oh, here we go again.

"Yeah", Montgomery jumped in and pulled Leonard down on the sofa with him. It would have been better if Montgomery was cooking. "Don't even comment his name, I've already used all the good jokes."

"Oh, so you've known each other for a while?"

The worst part about jealousy is that I don't even know Leonard but I already hate him, because he's dating someone I want to date. If I was to be objective, I'd say he was a nice, good-looking and, as far as I could tell, polite bloke, and I had no reason to dislike him.

Except, of course, the glaringly obvious. But that's not important anymore.

I glanced at Montgomery, unsure what to say. Maybe he didn't tell him about his past. And who could blame him.

"He's a doctor, as well. Worked with Summer. I've known him as long as I've known her", Montgomery said. I used to be impressed at how well he lied, but this was off-the-charts good. It was as if it was the only real truth. Not even a flinch.

"Well, nice to meet you Dr… What did you say your surname was again?"

"Shalil. Detroit Shalil", I answered, avoiding to look at the two as I bent down to search for the blasted salt.

"Oh." I seemingly confused Leonard, because he kept quiet for a couple of seconds. "How long have you been in the country?"

"Excuse me?" I immediately looked up. First of all, as much as he was trying to be polite, I figured it out as rude. "I've been in the country since I was born, thanks."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to—"

"No, it's okay." See, Detroit? He was being polite, and you go all Godzilla on him. Not cool. "Sorry, it's been a long week", I apologised.

"No problem, I know the feel. So you're moving in instead of Summer?"

"Yes, I am." Montgomery was suspiciously quiet throughout the whole conversation, so I glanced at him. He was looking at the television, but his eyes were out of focus, so he was deep in his thoughts. "It was a quick move in and move out, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the subject. Summer, as much as she is lovely, is also crazy."

"You two were dating then?" Okay, I see what's going on. He's trying to figure if I'm gay or not. He's finding out if I'm a threat. Smooth, but not very smart. I'm a doctor, you can't really trick me.

"God no. Me and Summer? We'd kill each other in less then a week. And I don't even think that's exaggerating." Leonard frowned a bit, processing what he heard. "So, are you staying for lunch?" I asked, stopping his train of thoughts.

"Ah, no, I'm afraid I can't. This is, technically my lunch break, and I came over to remind Mon of our date tonight… Mon?" Montgomery was completely zoned out until Leonard nudged him.

"Huh, sorry?"

Leonard laughed.

"Oh, Mon. Always so… Out of this world."

I couldn't agree more.

"Well", Leonard tapped his knees and got up. "It was nice chatting with you, but now I have to go", he said. "I'll see you later?" he asked Montgomery.

"Yeah, sure." Montgomery was still half out when Leonard left. I left my cooking and walked over to him.

"Earth to Montgomery."

"Mm?"

"You really look like you've made a connection with someone not alive… Are you okay?"

"Of course I am." He rolled his eyes. "I just… I think I prefer Montgomery to Mon. I don't know."

I returned to my cooking while my insides were melting. He prefers me to Leonard. While the more reasonable part of my brain tried to calm me. Why would he prefer me to him? He only likes the way his name is said. Relax, and breathe.

Today was an emotional rollercoaster.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:32 pm

Sunday was relatively quiet, as quiet as it could have been with Montgomery and I reuntied. There was no catching up in the technical terms, but we certainly did talk enough for the entire month, if not longer.

And, yet, if you asked me what were we talking about, I wouldn't be able to tell you.

I was too busy focusing on the small, seemingly unimportant things. I examined the thin strip of his stomach visible when he stretched up to grab something from the top shelves (which I wouldn't be able to reach at all). I spent hours replaying images of him in my head; him, looking over his round glasses, biting his lower lip, shrugging, normal human actions which only now became relevant and noticeable, when I focused on them. I felt like a spy, creating pictures of him for the greater good.

It felt almost frustrating. I mean, I'm not the world greatest actor, I'm as suspicious as a man with holes in his newspapers as he watches people, but he seemingly didn't notice. I'm not sure if I'm glad, or not.

On Monday I had my first day of work. Before, on Sunday, I did my homework, and was able to get my way around town relatively well. If nothing, I pretend I'm a foreigner and ask for the hospital. People who aren't me surely know their surroundings.

Two and a half hours after leaving home, (I'm already calling it home. Well, they say that home is where the heart is) I managed to walk into the hospital heading directly to the reception's desk. The man behind it didn't exactly look… thrilled.

"Good morning, fill your form and we will come to you", he said, in a bored voice. He had to be at least sixty five, and probably well over his retirement years.

"No, I'm the new psychologist, they're waiting for me in the cafeteria, I think."

"Please fill out your form and sit down with the rest of the patients."

"But—"

"The form, sir."

Not really a good beginning to the week.

"Hey!" I heard an unfamiliar female voice and high heels clicking against the floor. "Terrence, please stop pestering Dr Shalil, we don't want to scare him away, now, do we?"

"Of course not, Michelle."

Michelle was about five foot six with heels, a small Asian girl with gorgeous hair, smart clothes and a stunning smile. She grabbed my elbow and dragged me away from Terrence.

"I am so sorry. So very sorry. Terrence is more of a patient then a receptionist here", she let go of my elbow. It's nice to know that personal space is still a thing, I'd forgotten it even existed with Montgomery around.

"Don't worry, I'm used to it. You work here as well?" I asked, determined to keep this conversation rolling.

"Yes. I mainly do paperwork, because of the old boss in my department. When she leaves, I finally do some field work", she said. Her smile was really beautiful, I'm not even describing it enough. She seemed almost too perfect, like she was airbrushed to flawlessness. "I'm Michelle, by the way, but you can me Mischka, an old nickname."

"I'm Detroit, and you can call me Detroit, because I've heard a lot of nicknames and none of them do the name justice." She laughed and lead me over to the cafeteria.

"You're on the psychology department, if I heard you correctly?"

"Yeah, I am. I'm really looking forward to this job, the last two ones were absolutely the worst." Mischka seemed genuinely interested in my words so I tried to be more formal, you know, shoulders back, chin up and changing the way I speak.

"Were they disorganised or were the patients…?"

"No, no, the patients were alright, but the organisation, as you said, it was terrible. A week there already made me exhausted, and after two and a half years there, you slowly lose your mind."

"I can imagine. I hope you'll find this workplace much more calming, I know from my personal experience that we're a well organised hospital."

"Music to my ears." She kept on smiling at me. Was it to confuse me or to blind me, I don't know.

"Tell me, what do you say we go to grab a lunch after the shift is done, I could tell you more about the hospital, maybe it will make you want to stay", she said.

"Oh, there's no doubt there. Could you tell me where I need to be right now? I'm still a bit lost in this hospital."

"You have to find Uli, the blonde nurse always somewhere in the halls, he'll show you off to your office. I think that your boss will appear in that room when they feel like it to ask you a couple of questions about you."

"Okay, great. Thanks. I'll see you when the shift is done, then?" She nodded and left to the caffeteria.

I managed to find Uli and my room, and was settled down about half an hour after talking with Mischka. The rest of the day went by quickly.

There was nothing specific to do, the patients had basic disorders and problems, and I'd talk them through it. I never considered myself an exceptional doctor, and maybe I wasn't, but it all went by too quickly and smoothly to be normal. Maybe the patients were easy cases. But what do I know.

I gave it a bit of thought, and I still think I'd rather be in one-patient-psychology than this. Even though my last shot at it fell through, after it I keep finding this normal, ordinary work boring. It's not interesting when the only serious disorder you treat is depression, and when most people only need a person who will listen to them and not talk.

But that's not why I'm a doctor, right? I have to help people and ignore myself. Patients come first, feelings second.

That didn't work well in the past and it might not work in the future, but I still prefer it to this.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:56 am

Around three, Mischka walked into my office. Over her simple, elegant work clothes she put on a pink blazer, which made her stood out in the crowd as she walked towards me, in her feminine stride.

"Ready for lunch? I know just the place to take newcomers, it's near the hospital so you can even go there during lunch breaks, if you wish", she said, and lead me out of my office. I felt strangely inadequate. Even though people here weren't dressed for Nobel Prize Ceremony, Mischka was, and going anywhere with her made me feel like a second, but loose wheel.

"That'd be great, thanks. I need to write all the neat restaurants and coffee shops down somewhere, you know, for reference in the future. You never know when you might need a place to casually take someone out."

"Couldn't agree more." We walked through the city, talking and smiling, and I couldn't help but notice how different the atmosphere was and compare it to the atmosphere I had with Montgomery.

Mischka was a typical business woman, as far as I could tell. Her makeup was flawless, and so were her clothes. Middle class, will get a husband before thirty two, two kids before thirty five, and they'll live a modern, calm life with few surprises, maybe a divorce, and that's it. She was pleasant to talk to, relaxing, and Montgomery was a completely different story.

Every conversation with him was an adventure. Always different, always changing. When we're bad, we don't talk, and the silence is poisonous, and when we're good, the talks make me float, because he was such a wonderful person, and he just now started realising it, and I'm rambling, aren't I?

And why do I keep returning to him? This can't be healthy. Back to the real world.

The small coffee shop had about seven kinds of coffee and two types of bagels, but those that I tried tasted halfway to heaven.

"This shop is great, how did you find it?"

"Distant cousins of an old elementary school friend own it. I used to come here all the time during uni. It was that caffeine kick which kept me alive, really." Even when Mischka ate, she did it with grace. Not a crumb fell on her clothes, or ruined her lipstick. Unbelieveable. I've never met a girl so classy. I thought they didn't even exist.

"I know that feel exactly. I went to America, to college, and the situation there was similar. We even had a mantra. Study, coffee, study, sleep. I don't know how we survived, but nobody has died yet."

And we went on and on. She was a really nice person, you could talk to her about anything, and she'd listen and try to reply. I think I discovered a new species.

We talked for about an hour and a half, about the world, politics, the diversities in American and British reality shows and many more unrelated subjects. The flow of the conversation felt natural, if not too staged.

"Well", she got up and left enough money to cover half of the bill. "I have work at home, and I'm sure you do, as well, so I think we should set off."

I completed the bill with my couple of pounds and we were walking again.

Turns out we lived nearly in the same street, separated only by a children's playground and a park, so we spent most of the walk together. When we were at the crossroads, she stopped and pressed a kiss on my cheek.

"Nice spending time with you", she said.

"You too", I replied.

I walked left, and she headed right.

When I arrived in front of the house, I searched for my keys in my bag, an exhibition worth of Christopher Columbus. Five minutes of useless rummaging through my bag and dozens of promises to get a new organisation system, I found the keys, only to discover that the house was opened all along.

I entered, muttering swears.

"Hello", Montgomery said, sitting on his desk chair and focusing on something small and solid in his fingers. I guessed it was a sculpture.

"Hi. How are you?" It almost became a routine question. He glanced up

"Clearly not better than you", he said and returned to his work.

"Huh, what?"

He just looked at my cheek again and continued his figurine.

Shit. Mischka had lipstick on.

I rushed to the bathroom only to discover a shiny light pink lipprint on my cheek. I took it off as best as I could, but it still had some shine left. What is makeup made of, glue and paint?

I returned to the living room. Montgomery hadn't moved from his position, nor his expression had changed, and it bothered me more than it should.

There was a part of me which wanted him to be jealous. It wanted Montgomery to break up with Leonard, so that I could tell him that he means more to me than Mischka will ever mean, and assure him that if I had to make a choice between him or her, I would make the decision in a heartbeat.

"How was work?" he asked. And we were back in the position where we told each other only half of the story.

"It was good. I think I might like it here, it's ten times better than where I previously was."

"That's good." And that was it. I turned on the TV, he continued sculpting, and silence fell.

It was such an awful contrast to yesterday, when we talked and talked, and nobody could ever stop us. Now, there was nothing to stop.

No, there was definitely a world of difference about the way he treated me yesterday, and today. And I refuse to believe that he still was slightly bipolar.

I realised that he got better without me, and when I returned, everything collapsed.

Maybe I'm the problem. And maybe I've been doing it all wrong.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:58 am

Life continued on, not caring whether something was left behind or not.

I decided to separate home and work for this case.

Home: the dust between Montgomery and me has settled, and everything sunk back to normal, the way it had been before, with minor changes. Firstly, I was never worried that he might have a bad day and ignore me fully, which was a major plus. Secondly, we cooked a lot more, and I don't know if I like that one. Working in such a small space results in fighting. And, lastly, from now on, I was Detroit. Maybe it was true, maybe Montgomery used up all the good nicknames he had. But that doesn't mean I missed it. It wasn't such a big change, but it still reminded us that, yes, I left, yes, he got better, yes, everything's different.

Yes, we could have been at a very new and different place right now.

Work: I liked it so much more than the last one. It was a relaxed atmosphere, everything was teamwork, and I loved it there. I don't know for how long I signed the contract with them, (I have to check) but I'd gladly stay for that period of time, maybe even longer. Oh, and here's the big drop. Mischka and I started dating.

In two months I've been here, we've been on a date three times, I've been at hers once, she kissed me two times.

And all that made me more and more sure of my feelings towards Montgomery.

Of course, I liked Mischka, but I don't think anybody, male, female, inbetween, could cause these stupid emotions he caused. I considered dating someone else, but nobody seemed to fit the bill. Nobody could be Montgomery.

That's why the awkwardness started.

"Detroit", Mischka started. We were at her place, watching telly and drinking coke. It felt like a movie scene of a domestic relationship. Fake, staged, plastic. Nothing ever felt real with Mischka.

"Mischka", I replied.

"Tell me about Montgomery." I became more interested at the sound of his name. Let's not even pretend that I don't have a disgusting, horrible crush. I've got 'teenage girl' written all over my face, but the bad kind. No writing hearts with our names together, but dreaming of him, and waking up disappointed.

"Huh, why?"

"I dunno, I'm interested. I heard that girl talking about him, what was her name…"

"Summer?"

"Yes, her", she nodded and leaned more against my arm. "I heard bits and pieces of her conversation with somebody, and I didn't get very much. However, I am curious. So talk. What's up with him?"

"What do you mean, what's up with him?" I'd prefer not to talk about him during this, well, sort-of date.

"I heard that he's been in a hospital for years before they let him go, but I wasn't able to hear why. Mental or physical?"

"Both."

"What happened to him, specifically? I'm sorry for asking so many questions, I'm just curious about him."

"I can't tell you." Because I respect Montgomery's privacy, and I didn't tell her any more than that, even though she insisted. It would feel like betrayal, in a way, if I told Mischka what happened to him in a couple of minutes, while it took Montgomery a long, painful hour. That's not mine to tell.

But that's besides the point I'm trying to make, and the point is, Montgomery and I are dating. Not each other, but we are. We spend less time together, and it feels like we're drifting apart. It shouldn't be this melancholic, but it is. How can I be lonely, when he's sitting next to me? How can I even miss him at night when he's right in the other room, and I could hear him breathing?

This is exactly what I promised myself I wouldn't do.

It's every bit as painful as that time when I fell in love with my straight friend. I use 'in love' loosely, because that doesn't even compare with my situation now.

His name was Lou, and we were friends throughout high school.

Remember how I said I discovered I liked boys as well as girls in high school? Yeah, Lou's fault. Imagine the first day in high school. Us freshmen completely lost and unwilling to talk to the older kids, being lost in the hallways like ducklings.

Lou sat next to me during our first class and we immediately clicked.

In retrospect, I was young and stupid, and completely misunderstood everything he did. The straight things.

Bro hugs, covering up each other in the changing rooms, not a sheet of paper between us in the bathroom stalls while skipping classes, accidental touches when we were getting out.

Comments like 'who needs girls' when it came to prom, and going together. But, you know, just as friends.

I kissed him when we walking home from prom.

"But Det, I'm not gay." I still remember the exact way he said those words.

I ran home crying, feeling useless.

Before entering my house, I wiped my tears, caught my breath and squared my shoulder. It took me a couple of minutes and a look in the hallway mirror to convince myself I looked normal to my parents.

I ran up the stairs, closed myself into my room and just let it all out.

(I came out to my parents a month after, just before I left to Berkeley. They were lightly shocked, but they're nothing if not liberal. They made me a person I am today, and I'm eternally grateful for that. Parents have a huge impact on children. Just imagine how much less teen suicides would be if parents listened. How Montgomery's life would be different. Life is difficult on it's own, why make it harder?)

I never thought that this stupid 'crush' thing could get worse. So much worse.

I feel like crying now as well. You'd think that, after all these years, we'd discover a cure for love.

Love? Is that what this is?

I don't even know anymore.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:43 pm

Mischka wouldn't give up on insisting to meet Montgomery, so she made me force him and 'his date', as she put it, to a double date. Montgomery, Leonard, Mischka and I. I can guarantee that this date will be painful for somebody, and by somebody, I mean myself.

It's one thing to date someone outside your house, but when the whole affair is transferred on the inside, everything feels like it got at least seventy percent more personal. It was easy to date Mischka out, and slowly wither over Montgomery in, and it was also easy to ignore Leonard. I was afraid that, when that date happens, everything will become so much harder, and that Leonard and Mischka will read right through me. They're not as blind as Montgomery.

Fifteen to six, Montgomery went to pick up Leonard, and ten to six, Mischka arrived. She wore a long, fluffy, white dress and a expensive-looking denim jacket with flats, which was unusual for her, because I was used to her being nearly as tall as I am in heels.

"Hi", I said and let her in.

"Hello. Where's the rest of the crew?" She asked and walked (silently, not clicking) to the sofa.

"Montgomery is out picking up Leonard, which is interesting because Montgomery doesn't have a car, while Leonard does", I sat next to her.

"Leonard?" Mischka asked.

"Yes, Montgomery's boyfriend."

"Oh", she just quirked up her eyebrows and didn't say anything after that.

Why did that comment piss me off so much? There was a part of me which made me want to ask, 'what, you instantly thought he was straight?', but I realised that that same part of me desperately wanted to find reasons to break up with Mischka. Yes, she was perfect and smart and pretty and everything, but she wasn't Montgomery. Same, Leonard was perfect and and, but he wasn't me. And I was so convinced that we should end up together.

Laughter on the outside of the house when Montgomery and Leonard arrived has a bittersweet taste.

I want Montgomery to be happy. Of course I do. And if Leonard makes him happy, I'm out of the equation. But I knew I made him happy, too. Or is it just narcissism? I'd say it's hope, but I'd be lying.

"Hey", Montgomery said as they walked in. Montgomery's smile disappeared instantly whilst Leonard's slowly faded into a relaxed half-smirk.

"Hi", Mischka said and got up to shake their hands. "I'm Michelle, and I've heard lots about you."

Montgomery looked at me with a frown.

"What have you said." His tone made Mischka and Leonard laugh.

"Only the best", Mischka assured him, "of course."

"There's no best", Montgomery said and sat down on one of the bar stools and pulled Leonard on the other one. There had been lots of pulling among them, and I wondered if that meant anything.

"Don't be so hard on yourself", Mischka advised.

"That's only what I've been trying to say for years, but no luck", I joined.

"I don't know", Leonard said. "I got the vibe that he was a confident young lad."

"Okay, enough about me", Montgomery had crossed both his arms and legs, and I knew better than to press the subject. But.

"Aw, come on, babe, relax, have some fun." Montgomery must have liked Leonard more than me, because if I said something like that, I'd get a glare, a corner of lips raised in disgust and a middle finger. But for Leonard he just looked away, one of his hands playing with the strings on his bracelet.

"I think that may be enough chit chat before food, agreed?" I jumped in with an apologetic look aimed at Montgomery. I'm not sure he saw me, though. "Since we don't have a proper dining area here, all the ideas for fancy dining sink. Accordingly to that, I'm going to call a pizzeria. Who's in?"

Considering the satisfied murmor, pizza was the way to go.

I took their orders and called, half-listening to their conversation as I talked to the girl on the phone.

Their conversation was mainly Leonard and Mischka, while Montgomery kept silent. Of course, Mischka brought up Leonard's more talkative side, as she does, so in five minutes it took me for a call, they already reached the topics like family, weather and TV shows. Sometimes I don't believe that girl.

"Oh, hey, Detroit, which show is better, House or Grey's anatomy?" Mischka asked, obviously more than well into that discussion.

"Actually I prefer Judge Judy", I said, and the two ignored me, continuing their heated argument. Montgomery, on the other hand, looked me with such a beautiful, sincere smile before looking back down, that it made my breath shiver. He kept on smiling while playing with the bracelets.

All in all, the whole night could have gone worse. We discovered that Mischka can eat a lot and that she gets unbelieveably messy while doing so (privately. When she's outside, of course, she's nothing but class), Leonard has a cousin who is vegan but works at KFC, and Montgomery, when in deep thought, needs shaking to return to this world. (I actually already knew the latter, but I didn't know what was he thinking about.)

I haven't seen Leonard and Montgomery kiss, not even once. Mischka kissed me when she was leaving, and Leonard left soon after.

"A pleasant evening, don't you think? I asked picking up the remains of the dinner (plates and stuff) and promising I'll wash up tomorrow. Or just bribe Montgomery to do it.

"Mm", he responded noncommittally.

"I already met Leonard, so what did you think of Mischka?"

"Is it necessary we share information about who we are dating among each other?" he asked, kind of pissed off.

I don't know why.

"Okay then, then we won't", I said and left him alone in the living room.

There's only one explanation for the way he was behaving, but I don't want to let my poor tortured heart to think that the explanation is true. It's just not fair to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:53 pm

Mischka wouldn't give up on insisting to meet Montgomery, so she made me force him and 'his date', as she put it, to a double date. Montgomery, Leonard, Mischka and I. I can guarantee that this date will be painful for somebody, and by somebody, I mean myself.

It's one thing to date someone outside your house, but when the whole affair is transferred on the inside, everything feels like it got at least seventy percent more personal. It was easy to date Mischka out, and slowly wither over Montgomery in, and it was also easy to ignore Leonard. I was afraid that, when that date happens, everything will become so much harder, and that Leonard and Mischka will read right through me. They're not as blind as Montgomery.

Fifteen to six, Montgomery went to pick up Leonard, and ten to six, Mischka arrived. She wore a long, fluffy, white dress and a expensive-looking denim jacket with flats, which was unusual for her, because I was used to her being nearly as tall as I am in heels.

"Hi", I said and let her in.

"Hello. Where's the rest of the crew?" She asked and walked (silently, not clicking) to the sofa.

"Montgomery is out picking up Leonard, which is interesting because Montgomery doesn't have a car, while Leonard does", I sat next to her.

"Leonard?" Mischka asked.

"Yes, Montgomery's boyfriend."

"Oh", she just quirked up her eyebrows and didn't say anything after that.

Why did that comment piss me off so much? There was a part of me which made me want to ask, 'what, you instantly thought he was straight?', but I realised that that same part of me desperately wanted to find reasons to break up with Mischka. Yes, she was perfect and smart and pretty and everything, but she wasn't Montgomery. Same, Leonard was perfect and and, but he wasn't me. And I was so convinced that we should end up together.

Laughter on the outside of the house when Montgomery and Leonard arrived has a bittersweet taste.

I want Montgomery to be happy. Of course I do. And if Leonard makes him happy, I'm out of the equation. But I knew I made him happy, too. Or is it just narcissism? I'd say it's hope, but I'd be lying.

"Hey", Montgomery said as they walked in. Montgomery's smile disappeared instantly whilst Leonard's slowly faded into a relaxed half-smirk.

"Hi", Mischka said and got up to shake their hands. "I'm Michelle, and I've heard lots about you."

Montgomery looked at me with a frown.

"What have you said." His tone made Mischka and Leonard laugh.

"Only the best", Mischka assured him, "of course."

"There's no best", Montgomery said and sat down on one of the bar stools and pulled Leonard on the other one. There had been lots of pulling among them, and I wondered if that meant anything.

"Don't be so hard on yourself", Mischka advised.

"That's only what I've been trying to say for years, but no luck", I joined.

"I don't know", Leonard said. "I got the vibe that he was a confident young lad."

"Okay, enough about me", Montgomery had crossed both his arms and legs, and I knew better than to press the subject. But.

"Aw, come on, babe, relax, have some fun." Montgomery must have liked Leonard more than me, because if I said something like that, I'd get a glare, a corner of lips raised in disgust and a middle finger. But for Leonard he just looked away, one of his hands playing with the strings on his bracelet.

"I think that may be enough chit chat before food, agreed?" I jumped in with an apologetic look aimed at Montgomery. I'm not sure he saw me, though. "Since we don't have a proper dining area here, all the ideas for fancy dining sink. Accordingly to that, I'm going to call a pizzeria. Who's in?"

Considering the satisfied murmor, pizza was the way to go.

I took their orders and called, half-listening to their conversation as I talked to the girl on the phone.

Their conversation was mainly Leonard and Mischka, while Montgomery kept silent. Of course, Mischka brought up Leonard's more talkative side, as she does, so in five minutes it took me for a call, they already reached the topics like family, weather and TV shows. Sometimes I don't believe that girl.

"Oh, hey, Detroit, which show is better, House or Grey's anatomy?" Mischka asked, obviously more than well into that discussion.

"Actually I prefer Judge Judy", I said, and the two ignored me, continuing their heated argument. Montgomery, on the other hand, looked me with such a beautiful, sincere smile before looking back down, that it made my breath shiver. He kept on smiling while playing with the bracelets.

All in all, the whole night could have gone worse. We discovered that Mischka can eat a lot and that she gets unbelieveably messy while doing so (privately. When she's outside, of course, she's nothing but class), Leonard has a cousin who is vegan but works at KFC, and Montgomery, when in deep thought, needs shaking to return to this world. (I actually already knew the latter, but I didn't know what was he thinking about.)

I haven't seen Leonard and Montgomery kiss, not even once. Mischka kissed me when she was leaving, and Leonard left soon after.

"A pleasant evening, don't you think? I asked picking up the remains of the dinner (plates and stuff) and promising I'll wash up tomorrow. Or just bribe Montgomery to do it.

"Mm", he responded noncommittally.

"I already met Leonard, so what did you think of Mischka?"

"Is it necessary we share information about who we are dating among each other?" he asked, kind of pissed off.

I don't know why.

"Okay then, then we won't", I said and left him alone in the living room.

There's only one explanation for the way he was behaving, but I don't want to let my poor tortured heart to think that the explanation is true. It's just not fair to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:09 pm

Things kept getting worse and getting better, but all in all, balance in the universe remained. But nothing moved forward. We were stuck on a dead end.

One day I returned home to Montgomery pacing around the telephone in circles.

"What up, Mon", I said, in a relatively good mood. His expression remained blank. "Earth to Blanchette. Do you copy?"

"Max called."

"What?"

"Max called, but she got cut off by the Channel. She said she'd call later."

"Your sister?" I asked, falling to the sofa. Quick memory check; Maximilienne Blanchette, Montgomery's sister, moved to France when she was seventeen. Four, five years older than him. Because of upcoming children, marriage issues, college (later job), she never called Montgomery. Or was it that she called only her mum and dad and they didn't tell her about him? Equally awful.

"She's visiting York, but she told me to tell her where I live so she can visit me as well. Then her phone lost data connect."

"So now you wait?" I ran my hand through my hair, to tame it.

"Apparently." He looked more than distressed, and I didn't want to ask many questions. Well, it nearly was two decades since he last saw her, if I'm doing the math correctly. Why do I always have to measure separation in decades in Montgomery's case?

Montgomery paced for a while, then sat down, tapped his foot, moved his knee around, got up, made some black tea, drank his without a thing in it, and continued pacing. It made me nervous just watching him.

The phone rang about fifteen minutes after.

Montgomery almost pounced to grab it and answered it in record time.

"Max?" he spoke into the microphone gently, as if it was the most fragile thing in this world.

I couldn't hear the other side of the conversation, but I could deduce what was she saying by Montgomery's face expressions.

Sadness, a shadow of a smile. Sometimes, a wince.

"Um…" he coughed. "Leeds. Yeah." Silence. His eyes lightly widened. "Saturday? No, it's fine… Yeah. You can come. God, just come over, I miss you."

I don't know how sibling love feels like, but judging by the hitch in Montgomery's voice, it's equal parts pain and happiness.

"Yeah. Okay. See you." Montgomery hung up, glanced at me, and headed straight towards his room. Luckily, I knew what that means all too well.

"Whoa, whoa. You're not locking yourself up in there and not coming out for days." I placed my hands on his shoulders and guided him to the sofa. "Speak. What did she say, why didn't she call?" He sat down and stared up at me, silently. "Montgomery, I know how to make you talk if you don't want to."

"Really." Blank.

In this position I could see the rise and fall of his chest, usually a sign of breathing. It was faster than usual.

"Yes. But I'm smart enough not to make you do anything. So you're going to stay here until you tell me."

"You're not my doctor anymore", he said, his eyes able to rip through souls.

"But I am your friend." I think this sentence confused him more than it did me. I somehow always hoped I meant more to him than that. But I knew I was just fooling myself.

I watched his frown like it was like a gift from an angel which just so happens to be Lucifer.

"Irrelevant", he said and curled his knees so he could put his chin on them. Avoiding to look at me. So I knelt down so that we were on eye level.

"I thought you trusted me more than that", I said. It was more of an provocation than the truth, because I already knew he trusted me indefinitely. Or at least more than he trusted Greene (Ha, never thought I'll think about him again).

"I do", he looked as if I offended him in a way.

"Then tell me."

"Okay." There was a certain barrier in his mind, and I could almost hear it get broken. "She called our parents. They told her— No, they didn't tell her—" The barrier was, in fact, a dam, holding back the waterworks.

"They didn't tell her what?" I couldn't help him anymore.

"What happened to me. They told her I moved out and left my phone with them, so she never even tried to call, until now."

"Why?"

"They told her they'd been lying for years."

Decades.

"And what'd she say?"

"She said she'd tell me everything when she visits."

I looked, truly looked, at the man sitting in front of me. Thirty, but he didn't even start living. Sitting amongst the wreckage of his life, trying to up the pieces back together only so the lightest breath of wind can make them crash down again.

There were tears in his eyes, and he looked at me like I could make it all better.

I couldn't, but that didn't keep me from trying.

I went for a hug, and his arms opened to accept me before I even knew what was I doing.

"I'm sorry. I really am", I said into the grey fabric of his shirt.

"I know", he left dark wet splotches on mine.

How do you help a man like Montgomery? He's insistent that he does everything on his own until the point of breaking, when nobody can fix him.

No, wait. He doesn't need fixing, not really. It's the world around him that's a mess, closing in on the poor boy. If we were to fix something, we'd be fixing for years.

Decades.

After today, nobody is allowed to use that word in my presence. Ever.

His grip on my back was strong, as if he never wanted me to leave. I had to move, though, because Mischka was taking me to the cinema. I never hated her more.

Let me correct myself. I don't hate her as a person. I hate the role which she plays, and that is the one of an obstacle.

I don't know how much longer I can keep this up.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:48 am

During the days before Saturday, Montgomery hadn't left the house once. And who could blame him.

I personally liked returning to Montgomery every day, I could easily create excuses for Mischka and our dates, plus, Leonard was nowhere to be seen. Not much of a difference though. We could easily do without him. I don't know how I'd do without Montgomery, though.

Ugh.

It's like an eternal headache.

Saturday came, and I woke up with a pillow to my head.

"Wake up", he half-shouted at me.

"Why? No!"

I remember when the roles were different.

"Max is coming and you sure as hell aren't going to sleep through her visit."

"Why the fuck not", I asked and buried my head into the pillow he threw at me. It was a bit warm, and smelled of Montgomery's shampoo. There were worse things in life.

"Because Max doesn't like people easily and I want her to like you."

I immediately looked up.

"Huh? Why do you want her to like me?" Don't blame a man for trying.

"Because you're my friend."

I closed my eyes again.

"No."

"Please?"

"No."

He half jumped, half threw himself on my bed. I screeched.

"What", he exclaimed over my inhuman noises as he took away my blanket and my —his— pillow. "You did this to me all the time!"

"Yes, but I had legal permission to make you wake up. This is harrassment", I complained and curled myself into a ball to hold on to the remaining warmth.

"This is Sparta!" he hit me with a pillow again.

"Wait, when did you watch 300?"

"With Leonard, a couple of weeks ago."

"When?"

"When I went out for the night, told you not to wait up."

Boom. I was fully awake.

You know that feeling when you have just one hope, just one centimetre before a fall? Well, this is the fall.

I always hoped that Leonard was just a month fling, that he never meant anything serious with him. No, listen up. I'm not selfish. I don't think that I am the most perfect person for Montgomery and that he may never be with anybody else. I just think he deserves better than Leonard, no matter how perfect he might seem. He just didn't make Montgomery happy, happy enough. I think that I did.

I honestly don't remember when he told me he was going out.

"Oh, okay. I forgot. When is she coming over?"

"I think she said around lunch? I don't know, probably. Now go get dressed."

"It's seven, Montgomery. Lunch is at least six hours away", I stretched and got up.

"We still need to make lunch", he complained.

Needless to say, we gave up on that in about half an hour and decided to order pizza.

"I never learnt how to cook", he confessed while we watched television. "Not until Summer and her disasterous tutoring."

We were sat on the sofa, his legs on the coffee table, and mine over his thighs.

Hey, that's what friends do… Right?

"My parents taught me about three things to cook, and the rest is the result of internet, cookbooks and endless attempts."

"Mm", he replied. You see what I mean when I say that we spoke nothings? Because nothing useful came out of these conversations, and yet I still preferred having them than anything else. I missed him so much those two years, and those feelings only started to transpire now, when he was next to me, but still restrained. I don't know why. Maybe he still hated me for leaving. Maybe he understood, but thought I changed and didn't talk to me because of that. Maybe he changed.

The last one is probably one of my biggest fears.

Nobody should change Montgomery. It should be made illegal. Small, helpless Montgomery whose only interest in life was sculpting. His rare smiles and nearly extinct laughter, his stupid Beatles cds and shirts, and bracelets. His stupid tattoo.

All those stupid things made Montgomery who he was in my mind. Change one thing, the everything will crumble to dust.

(I don't know why I called Montgomery small. The man's six foot two with wide shoulders, and even though he probably still weighs less than me, he can't be small, not in any definition of that word.)

Nevertheless, some changes are for good. Sometimes, when he had his bad days, back when we'd be in my office, he'd wince every time we accidentally touched. It could be handing something over, or just brushing shoulders, but he'd wince. It eventually stopped happening so often, but still did, from time to time. Now, nothing.

I don't know why I feel like I'm making a list of pros and cons, but here's another bad change: I sleep alone. I miss Montgomery's chest radiating heat, his damned irregular breathing, and the times when he'd wrap his legs around mine. I have a feeling I'd appreciate those nights more now, when I know things I didn't back then.

Now, only a glance in the passing could kickstart my heart into full motion. Not to mention his smile, especially when I'm not the only one in the room and the smile is directed only to me. Or when his eyes linger on me for longer than I think is appropriate. Or when he keeps glancing at my lips, and I keep on melting inside.

I'm probably rambling, but I don't care. My, I could write a book about that boy.

But let nobody think he's perfect. He hasn't got the grassiest green emeralds instead of eyes. His hair isn't flowy and glossy, and it isn't messy in an I-didn't-wake-up-like-this-but-I'll-pretend-I-did way. He hasn't got abs to die for, and he's about as strong as an overcooked noodle. He's not what you'd find on the front of magazines, and sometimes, you can pass him in a crowd without noticing him.

But, you know what? I love the man. I tried to deny it in the past, but it's too late for me now.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:40 pm

Think of a cat, jumping up because it got scared by something.

Now think of Montgomery, shoving my legs off of him because he heard the door bell.

It's basically the same thing, it's just that one has more fur.

I remained in my spot, not wanting to interfere.

There are some things in life when a man has to speak up, to make himself known. This isn't one of those things. I wanted to make myself as invisible as possible without leaving the room, because I've never seen Montgomery's sister, nor the way he'd act towards her. People act differently around different people.

Montgomery opened the door.

"Max", he said, his voice an almost-silent breath, as she stood on our doorway.

Maximilienne Blanchette looked exactly how you'd expect Montgomery's sister to look like. Messy, brown hair, strong jaw, eyes that always looked a little sad, even when she wasn't. She was maybe an inch or two shorter than me, and she probably weighed less then a stack of three papers.

"Mon", her words were laughter of bells. A happy person, I guessed.

And she hugged him before I could even blink.

It was the sort of hug which squashes your lungs, compresses your ribs, gives you arm bruises, but you don't care. Montgomery didn't seem to care.

He hadn't seen Max for too long, and he was making up for it while she cheerfully twittered into his shoulder.

"My, my, have you grown! When I last saw you, you were five feet of nothing!"

Maths time; Max moved when she was eighteen. Considering that Montgomery is four years younger, that would make him fourteen. He was thirty now. More than half of his life.

"Goodness, how I have missed you, baby brother", she said and let go of him. He looked like he wouldn't mind hugging her forever.

"And I too", he replied and looked at Max a little better. "Whoa, how many kids have you had?"

"This here little fella will be my third", she pointed at her stomach.

Montgomery gulped.

"That question was supposed to be rethorical. A joke. Does that make me an uncle?" Before Max could reply in any way, Montgomery continued. "I think I need to sit down, this is all too much." He grabbed Max by her elbow and dragged her to living room. So the dragging was a thing now. As he dragged a chair from the kitchen, Max noticed me.

"Ah, who are you?" She said it in such a gentle, nice way. As soft as velvet. If only Montgomery got to learn some eloquence from her.

"I'm Detroit, his friend", I told her. Montgomery put the chair near Max and sat next to me on the sofa.

"Hi, Detroit", she smiled. There was a certain warmth to her smile, something long forgotten in Mischka. Mischka had been working for too long to have even an ounce of humanness in her.

"Now, just to get it out of the way, what did mum and tell you about me?" Montgomery asked.

"Okay, why?" Her eyes widened a couple of seconds after. "Oh. They lied, didn't they."

"Yes."

"I wondered why you answered your phone just now."

"I wondered why you never called."

I was focused at the telly, trying to give them some privacy, but their silence was more than clear.

"I'll-I'll just leave", I said and got up, feeling fidgety.

"No, no, stay", Max said, obviously just being polite, but I'd already mastered Montgomery's quick glances.

"I have work to do, and you have loads of catching up", I waved a bit to the two of them and went into my room. The last thing I wanted to do is restrict them from talking.

I called Summer, because I really didn't speak with her for months, plus, I had nothing else to do.

"When's the wedding?" Summer said without a hello.

"Screw you", I replied, messing with the end of my shirt.

"What did I do?"

"Why did you put me in Montgomery's house?"

"Why not? You could have just left", I heard a quiet snicker in her voice.

"You know I can't do that."

"Aww, Detroit is in looove", she chirped.

"Shut up! Am not!" You know how they say, liar, liar, pants on fire.

"Ha, yeah right. You guys hooked up yet?"

"Summer!"

"You haven't? Damn, I had a bet going on within the family."

"Summer, he has Leonard, and I'm not that big of a catch for him to dump Leonard for me."

"Are you kidding me, he doesn't care about Leonard! He told me once that he thinks he's boring. I thought he broke up with him once you returned. C'mon, Det, you're a bloody doctor, you know stuff."

"Yeah, and so?" Summer's intentions were slowly being discovered.

"He doesn't like Leonard, he likes you."

"He doesn't. Besides, I have a girlfriend."

"Dump her."

"No!" This conversation wasn't going anywhere, but it was nice hearing that he likes me, even if it was a lie.

"Okay, then. Do you like her?"

"Yes."

"But do you love her?"

Shit. Asking the right questions.

Silence.

"Ha", Summer laughed, "I knew it."

"You got me."

"Dump her!"

"No!"

"Detroit, you worthless piece of shit. You're making your life too complicated. Mother-in-law needs me, I'll call you back later."

"Yeah."

She hung up.

Was I that obvious? Heh, probably.

I spent two, three hours or so to read up on patient files, fixing schedules and work-related stuff, when my curiousity got the best of me.

I got up and went towards the door. (I'd discovered before that the walls were exceptionally thin. Don't ask me why. Might be a problem in the future.)

I know that this wasn't okay. Actually, it was far from okay. And the worst part is, I was aware of just how bad it was, but that didn't stop me.

At first it was hard to hear anything, and maybe they weren't talking loud enough, but I spent about five minutes with my ear against the door, like an idiot.

And then I heard it.

"Yeah, okay, but do you like him?"

"I love him, that's the problem.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:57 pm

It can't be. But it is.

The final proof. He loves Leonard.

And that's okay, because I want him to be happy.

Bullshit.

I backed away from the door as quiet as it was possible and returned to my desk. Of course, this was something I suspected before, but never wanted to think about. It's like the end of the world. You know its inevitable, but you still don't want to know about it until it's too late.

I don't know why it hit me so hard.

About Montgomery I knew a lot, right? As much as he sold out to be a tough nut to crack, he had a weakness for human interaction. He'd been separated from humanity for so long that, now, he craves any attention he can get, but he wouldn't stay in a relationship for long enough if he didn't love the person at the other end of it. He doesn't want—no, can't—hurt anybody else. Beneath it all, he's a good, pure soul.

As opposed to me. I am just a half-smart lazy loud shrink. Of course he chose Leonard over me.

And here we have all the stages of breaking up with someone you never actually dated. Denial, reasoning, and self-pity. We learnt that in college. A much bigger issue than I thought it would be.

Summer told me that, being a psychologist, means that I can figure out my life much easier than other, 'normal' humans.

Of course, she also said that Montgomery likes me. That girl is not to be trusted.

Speaking of Summer, my phone rang.

"Detroit, hey!"

I left the line silent for a couple of seconds.

"Detroit, I can hear you breathing."

"Summer, he just told Max he loved Leonard, you liar."

"What?!"

First I had to explain to Summer who was Max and 'what the hell she was doing here', and then Summer went on a monolog on how Montgomery never told her about his sister and so on. When she finally stopped talking and started listening to what I had to say (I was quiet the entire time), she swore.

"Shit. Did he really say that he loved Leonard?"

"Not exactly in those words, but yes."

"What do you mean, 'not exactly in those words'? What did he say?"

"I dunno, I couldn't hear him completely, but I know he said that it's a problem that he loves him, whoever he might be."

"Wait, wait." I seemingly confused Summer, what a rare sight. "It's a problem that Montgomery loves… Him, as he said."

"Yes."

"You bloody fool!" Summer's voice was getting dangerously close to a shout. "Unless you discovered you were female and got sex reassignment surgery in the meantime, he means you! 'He' is you!"

"Summer, please", I really wasn't feeling well from all the shouting. A bit dizzy, "stop trying to make me feel better. It's easier that I stop this sillyness right now or I'll be crying on Montgomery's and Leonard's wedding."

"What the fuck are you even talking about, they're not getting married!"

"It's a reasonable follow-up!" I started shouting at her as well. "Summer, I'm a grown man, I am perfectly capable of dealing with my own—"

I heard shuffling in the living room, and I, panicking, hung up on Summer. She'd call again later anyways. I walked up to the door and went to open it, but it opened before I could put my hand on the handle.

Montgomery stood in front of me, his eyes a bit red in the corners.

"You okay? I heard shouting." His voice was solid, like he hadn't been crying. I had a hard time looking him in the eyes.

I raised my hand which held the phone.

"It's Summer. I love the girl, but she pisses me off sometimes."

"Yeah. You sure you're okay?" I didn't pass Montgomery's 'okay' radar.

"Are you?" I asked, aware that I was playing with the forbidden territory. His eyes narrowed.

"Go to your room."

"I'm in my room."

He closed the door, nearly flattening my face. Thanks, Montgomery.

I answered the call not five seconds later.

"I'll pretend that you didn't just hang up on me. You better have a good bloody reason." Summer was eerily calm. I have a feeling that one day she'll destroy the world petting a white kitten in her lap and painting her nails with the blood of her enemies.

"You said you'll pretend that it didn't happen."

"I'm a nice person, Detroit, I don't deserve your fuckery."

"I hung up because Montgomery came into my room."

Summer made a noise which can only be compared to a dying hamster.

"Because, apparently, I was shouting."

"Oh." She sounded really disappointed. "I was hoping a wild makeout session."

"I give up."

"I don't, I really want to create a proper match out of you two losers."

Summer told me the entire plan and essay on the topic of 'Detroit and Montgomery; real or just a government fraud?' and I had to be quiet and listen. Something that was hard to do, so I decided to clean up my room while she talked and talked.

I finally took out the last clothes from the suitcase and shoved it under my bed. (It was just some jeans from college that were too small for me. Maybe Montgomery could use them as shorts).

I checked all the pockets, so I didn't miss anything, and I found it.

That small totem with a mistake that was disguised as a signature. Montgomery's gift.

Maybe he loved me once. Those looks back then definitely weren't 'just friendly'. But I ruined it. I ran away like a coward, and it was too late for us now.

And, all this romantic shit aside, I was sorry. As Montgomery's friend and doctor, I was endlessly sorry for leaving.

I only noticed that Summer stopped talking when I sniffed loudly and wiped my eyes.

I was not built for this. I'm too weak and easily hurt. I should just give up on love all together.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:00 pm

Max left the next day. Montgomery didn't seem like he wanted to talk about it, and I didn't push him.

Summer told me that I should talk to Leonard. Now, I might have forgotten the talk topic, but never mind that now.

On the topic of Leonard (but same thing with some reasonable exceptions applies to Mischka);

I think he's a really nice person. Polite, friendly, and probably patient, if he's dated Montgomery for a while now. I have nothing against him, I cannot stress that enough. I don't hate the man, and if they end up together for a longer period of time, good. Because Montgomery deserves a good person like Leonard.

And Leonard, being the good person, deserves the truth.

I found Leonard's number on Montgomery's phone (yes, yes, sue me for going over his phone), and called him.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Leonard? It's Detroit."

"Yeah, yeah, I remember. Why are you calling, did something happen to Montgomery?" Damn his cute Irish accent, I can see why Montgomery started dating him.

"No, nothing, as far as I know. I decided that you were dating Montgomery for long enough for me and you to get to know each other better."

"Uhh, yeah, sure." I confused the poor man.

"I came off as weird, didn't I? I'm sorry."

"It's fine", his soft laughter filled the phone line.

"Maybe tomorrow we meet in a new opened bar down the road, and have some beer, like men do?"

"I'm certainly not the manliest pea in the pod, but I get you. Tomorrow at…?"

"Five, maybe?" I suggested.

"Yeah, sure, five works."

"Okay, I'll see you then."

"Bye." He hung up first.

I didn't know what to tell him.

And tomorrow, at four thirty, I still didn't know. I decided to wing it, which would probably end up a disaster. But I had nothing to lose, right?

I arrived at the bar a bit early. Leonard came precisely on time. It was the most awkward thing I've done in my life.

"Hello", Leonard said and sat next to me.

"Hi", I replied.

Leonard ordered a drink, I drank half of mine. We talked about the weather and sports (he knew just as much as I did, which was a relief. We bullshitted our way out of it), and soon got the hang of talking. Leonard is an easy-going man, and I'm a shrink. We adapted easily.

"So how did you meet Montgomery", I asked, being, as always, subtle.

He went on about how he met Summer in the hospital when he had his regular check up, and she introduced him to Montgomery, and blah blah blah. To be honest, he seemed more focused on the mean nurse in the hospital than on Montgomery, which is a good thing for me.

Our talk went on and on, and the beer probably hit me in the head.

"And you? Mon never told me much about you. You were his doctor, that I know, but why did he need a psychologist?" Leonard asked, playing with the tip of the bottle.

"I dunno, man." I must warn ahead that, even when I'm just tipsy, my drunk personality is frat boy. I have no idea why, and I apparently have no shame. "He has to tell you that himself, it's kinda personal, but lemme tell ya, if you'd look at him five years ago, wheew."

"What happened five years ago?" Hey, not fair. He drank as much as I did, and yet he looked sober. He either has huge alcohol tolerance or drinks all the time.

"Again, he has to tell you himself. Sorry. Doctor-patient relationships are strictly secreted."

"Doctor-patient, and now friends." Ha, more like 'star-crossed lovers', if you ask me. But, of course, you don't ask me.

"Yeah, that happened. I don't even know how, but it did."

Skip an hour, and alcohol significantly hit Leonard.

Not to even mention me.

We didn't even drink that much.

"So, about you and Mischka, you two pretty serious?" Conversation was a segue, going from friendships, to human psychology, to the topic which I didn't quite understand, and that was, 'Do people who study sociology and related subjects have better relationships with others'. I'm pretty sure Summer said that many times as well. The answer is, no, we don't.

"Nah, I wouldn't say so. I like Mischka 'n all, but at the end of the day, I don't see a future with her. I do hope we stay in touch though. She is a nice person."

"Yeah", he said, and pondered over a thought for a couple of seconds. He didn't say it out loud.

"What about you and Montgomery?" Sadistic, I mentally kicked myself.

"I dunno." A bit of an anticlimax, but okay. "I dunno, dude. Never really thought about it much. I didn't want to get too involved, cuz I kinda always thought that you two had a fling in the past and now 'stayed friends' awkwardly."

I nearly spat out half of my beer.

"Err, no, nothing like that."

"Phew", he said. "It really seemed like that."

"How?"

"It's that strange, messy vibe you get from watching you two communicate. It's like a language barrier. Again, a fling would explain that."

He wasn't really far from the truth.

"It's just the way most doctor-patient relationship are. Messy."

After that, I was always at the edge of my chair, and decided to leave ten minutes after. But his goodbye hit me pretty hard.

I got up, and Leonard grabbed my sleeve, to keep me just a bit longer.

"Detroit."

"Hmm?"

"You lied, didn't you? About Montgomery? I know unrequited love when I see it. I'm sorry, I really am. But I think he picked me to date him because he loves me, and thinks of you as a friend. Again, I'm sorry. I know how it feels like."

I left the bar unbelievably sober. My mind was a battlefield; Summer's side and Leonard's side. I don't know which one is winning.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:34 pm

It was like women had a sensor for these kind of things.

"Hello, dr. Shalil speaking?" I answered, rearranging the papers on my desk. Non-stop work, this hospital was, but it was well worth it. I liked it here, and it was even better when Mischka was around, because, hey, free coffee.

(I've started thinking of Mischka as a very close friend and it made things considerably easier.)

"Detroit!" spoke a rather familiar voice. I almost let out a squeak, oh so manly of me.

"Mum?"

"Yes!"

I, of course, have spoken with my mum over the phone, and, once, over Skype (then my dad decided that technology was evil and we didn't Skype after that). But I haven't seen her for so long, and just speaking to her made my mind aflutter.

"How did you even find me, this is my work number…?"

"I google you sometimes, to see how my smart boy is doing." My mother, as opposed to my dad, is fascinated by the internet and all sorts of gadgets. "Why, do you want me not to call you?"

"No, no, I love it that you called! How are you, how's dad?"

"I'm good. Retirement is fun. Your dad… Not so much. It's not worse, but it's not better. But he says he's feeling good."

Dad worked as a chemist, and one day they weren't so careful with the tubes. Left half of the team with anaemic symptoms, but it just wasn't it. The doctors are still confused, but as far as my dad is walking, talking and not in pain, I'm okay.

"Retirement… Mum, you're old."

"And your life is only just beginning!… Ah, I remember when you were so small, and not long ago you were thirty!"

"Please don't get sentimental on me."

"But that's what mothers do. Or at least your mother"

I had to smile a bit. My mother was world-known for being overly-dramatic and sentimental and melancholic. Telling her not to be all those things is like telling a clown not to be scary.

"Look, mum, I'm working now, but you can call later, I'll gladly talk with you."

"See, that's why I called. I am going to get on a train to Leeds, if I read correctly, tomorrow to visit you! You just need to send me the address."

First Max, then my mum. Or should we call it, family reunions of the Blanchettes and the Shalils.

"That's great!" I found it hard not to jump around like an overly excited teenage girl, just because my mum was going to visit me. But, do teenage girls even do that?  "Tomorrow, you said? I'll text you the address right now… What about dad? How long are you planning on staying"

"He's staying home, with his poker buddies and what not. And I was thinking I stay for the Saturday?"

"Yeah, that's okay. I'll see you then?"

"Yes."

"Bye!"

My first thought when I hung up was, what am I going to tell her about Montgomery. She knows me better than anyone, and will read right through me before she even steps into the house. I'm not even inflating the truth.

I was fidgety the entire day. Mischka noticed, because when she was bringing me coffee so we could drink it together, she nudged me.

"Hey, is there anything wrong?" she asked as she sipped her coffee. I'd honestly rather drink tea, but she seemed to be enjoying herself, so I let her be.

"Wrong? No, no, I just…" I couldn't tell her about my mother coming over, because then she'll want to meet her and I think I know what will happen if Mischka meets my mother. See, mum doesn't like liars, and I was a huge liar these months. Even though she was getting older, she could still hit the back of my head so hard I'd get a mild concussion. And it's not like I don't deserve it. "No, just wandered off a bit, sorry."

"You seem awfully distant. You sure you're alright?"

Every day I felt worse and worse about keeping things away from Mischka. She doesn't deserve to be treated the way I treat her. Huh, I guess my mother did make an impact on me. Thanks, mum.

"Fine, completely fine. Are you fine?" Shift the blame; number one rule with conversations you do not want to have.

"I'm fine." She looked me in a way that's supposed to mean that I'm not exactly the most sane person in the room. Thanks, Mischka.

When work ended and I was walking home, I constructed conversations in my head. What would I tell Montgomery? It might be like Montgomery is meeting my mum for the first time as my… Something, because who knows how my mum might interpret the entire thing. 'Oh, you two are such great friends, I'm glad you finally have someone to trust' seemed like a possible reaction. 'Detroit, I didn't raise you to be a coward' seemed like a more probable one. Swearing in arabic and giving me lectures was the one that I feared of, but the one that was going to, undoubtedly, happen. My mother has a… What do you call it? A temper. At least when something isn't right in her mind.

"Hello", I walked in the house. Montgomery was laid down on the couch, with his legs thrown over Leonards thighs. Nothing too innocent-crushing, but something I wasn't comfortable seeing. Huh, deja vu.

"Hey", they both replied, focusing onto some kind of an animal documentary. I didn't even want to ask.

"Hi, Leonard. Just a note, my mother is visiting tomorrow", I said. Montgomery looked at me and raised his eyebrows.

"Huh", he said simply, and returned his eyes on the screen. A bit of underwhelming, but I didn't really mind.

"I thought a heads up would be nice", I said, and went into my room.

Well, I'm certainly glad the couple over there is getting all domestic, especially that beer fiasco with Leonard couple of weeks back. I wonder what was Leonard aiming to achieve.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:51 pm

"Mum!"

"Detroit! You've grown at least half a foot!"

"I stopped growing when I was a junior in high school", I noticed, but that didn't stop my mother from pulling me into a hug. Both of my parents were shorter than me, and I find that worrying. Also a really good proof that evolution is the real deal.

"You've grown as a man!"

"Emotionally?"

"Mentally!"

I swear to god that my mother has a dictionary on her nightstand and she learns a new word every day. Ten years ago she had no clue what that meant.

I heard shuffling in the background and let go of my mother. Introduction time.

"Mum", I said and glanced over my shoulder. "This is my flatmate, Montgomery. Montgomery, my mum, Anippe."

"Just Ani, please", mum said and shook Montgomery's hand, just a tad too enthusiastically.

"Nice to meet you." Montgomery had the look which I could deciphre that he has nothing against my mother or meeting her, but today is just not his day. I dislike that Montgomery. It meant he wouldn't talk much, and generally be distant, which was never a good look on him.

After Montgomery returned to his half-sprawled position on the sofa, I walked my mum to the chairs.

"So, you've had breakfast?" I asked. She grinned at me.

"I never thought that you'd be the one asking that question." I smiled back.

"I'm asking because I have a lunch to plan."

"Never thought you'd say that, either." I forgot how cool of a mum I had.

"C'mon, mum, don't be a shitty guest."

"Hey, no swearing."

"I blame Montgomery, he's a bad influence."

"Oi", he called from the sofa.

"I'm kidding." Rule number one with introducing Montgomery to anybody, don't piss him off when you're trying to make him likeable.

"Mm."

Might have fucked up that one. Screw it. Let's just gloss over that. Moving on!

I forgot how easy it was to talk with my mum. She had been my best friend when I was a kid, and we didn't drift apart.

Montgomery didn't speak up, and I often glanced at him, you know, just to check if he was alive an' all. I could retell you everything he was doing, but only a half of the conversation I had with mum.

He watched telly, talked on the phone (Leonard?) and made himself some tea. Bordering on creepy, are we now, Detroit?

Mum and I caught up, talking over (several cups of) tea. She told me about life in Birmingham, I told her about life in California, state institutions, Reading and Leeds. My, my, I lead an interesting life.

And mum noticed. Of course she did.

"Detroit?" she asked, when the day was ending.

"Mum?"

"Could we go… Somewhere private?" She glanced at Montgomery.

"Sure, my room?" I got up and walked to my room, with her following me. We got in, closed the door, and sat on my bed.

"Okay, Detroit, what's going on?"

"Nothing, everything's fine, why'd you—"

"Detroit."

My mother doesn't even need a degree in psychology, she feels the energy in people. I'm kind of like her, or at least I try.

"Yes?"

"What's with Montgomery?"

"He's distant, he's had a rough past—"

"We're not in high school anymore", she said tiredly. "Quit avoding my question. I see the way you look at him. You two are—"

"Mum, no."

"You're not? But—"

"No."

But she knows me too well.

She kept silent for a minute, maybe, and then just put it all in one simple, short sentence.

"You love him but you think he doesn't love you back."

My mouth fell open. We don't give mothers enough credit.

"Am I right?" she asked, endlessly caring.

"Yes", I exhaled. "But it's not that simple."

"I heard. He spoke to his boyfriend."

"And I have a girlfriend, but that aside." I'd prefer not to talk about Mischka. I am such an awful boyfriend. "Mum, he's been through a lot when he was seventeen." I remember that my mother doesn't like vagueness. "He was raped, and had to spend more than ten years in that hospital thing building, that's how I know him. I don't know if it's… Right…?"

"Detroit", she stopped me. "Love is never easy, and almost never right. The rightness doesn't hold you back from telling everything to him, doesn't it?"

"No. I just… I don't know." At that moment, my brain turned into water, and water steamed out of my ears. I don't want to say anything to Montgomery because, er… "Rejection. He'll say he doesn't feel the same way and it will ruin our friendship."

"That's the least of your problems, your friendship is already ruined. Next?"

"I don't deserve him."

"Oh, there we go."

We danced around the main problem for a while, and now we're digging right to it. My mother does that to people.

"Why do you think you don't deserve him?"

"He's—he's so great, even with his quirks, and I— Mum, when one part of me wanted to confess and prepared to do so, the other one got a job in Reading and moved away without a warning. And I promised myself I wouldn't hurt him. I'm contradicting myself and that's making it so much harder."

I don't want to cry. But every time I think of leaving, I get this strange feeling in my stomach. I couldn't even imagine how it would be if I had to leave now. It was so much more complicated now.

"Detroit, honey", mum put her hand on my shoulder. "We all make mistakes. Sure, yours were bigger than some, but I'm sure he's already forgiven you."

She glanced at the clock and pushed herself off the bed.

"It's getting late, I should go, your dad might need me", she said. "But promise you will call me. You should've called me much sooner. I'm older and more experienced, remember?" she said with a soft smile. "I can walk myself out. It's okay, sweetheart."

But it was far from okay. The only thing that love does is hurt people.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:00 pm

I needed to get myself away, to work and not think, but obviously the universe hates me.

Mischka invited me over for dinner. When I was leaving, Montgomery asked when was I coming home. I said don't wait up. I don't know about him, but I haven't stopped feeling bad about that. I'm not helping my situation.

"Hi", I said when I entered Mischka's flat.

"Hey", she tapped the sofa next to her. "I'm watching this show, it's ending soon, then we eat."

"Okay."

Turns out Montgomery and I weren't the worst cooks in the town.

"I burnt the dinner", she confessed. "I had to call in the woman from upstairs to turn off the smoke alarm. The choice is yours, do you want to cook something or order something in?"

"Dunno. Do what you wish", I said, half ignoring the telly and half her.

"I don't know, that's why I asked you."

Indecisive much? Frankly, I wasn't in the mood.

We ordered in some Thai and watched some kind of a zombie show. She seemed to enjoy herself, so I let her watch it, even though I found it kind of boring.

And then she kissed me. Soft, at first, then got more insistent.

She tangled her fingers in my hair, and I thought, well this was new. She never did that, to me, at least.

Did she want anything from me, is that why she called me? Did she think, 'Well, we've been dating for a while, let's get familiar under the covers'? Even though I wanted nobody to get hurt by me, I would never go that far.

See, I've kissed loads of people. A bit less in high school, a bit more in college, and little to none after, but I've only slept with three people.

Georgia, a Christian girl in high school, who was just what Mischka was, a cover up for a crush. (Except now he's called Montgomery, not Lou, and this time it's devastatingly more serious.) Georgia was going through a rebel phase against her parents and drove me in it as well. We were together only for two months, maybe less.

Arthur, a greaser stuck in the fifties, who smoked just to be cool (and could stop whenever he wished because apparently nicotine didn't affect him), and who sang me Broadway musical songs on his beaten-up guitar. I honestly have no idea what was he doing in a medical college. I think he may have dropped out on the second year.

Danielle, probably the Beyoncé of our college. No, not Beyoncé, like ten times hotter. She never wore too revealing clothes, but on one class trip we had we went swimming in the sea, and, let me tell you, nobody has ever looked or will ever look better in a bathing suit than she did that day. I don't know why she even dated me, but we were a 'we' a solid half year. We broke up because I was apparently too smart for her, which was not so much of a compliment, because, whilst she was pretty and had conversation skills to die for, she wasn't made for psychology, it just wasn't her field.

All three of them meant something to me in a romantic way. Mischka, even though I like her as a friend, caused nothing but platonic feelings.

"Err, Mischka", I said and put my hands on her shoulders to push her away. "Um. Could you… Stop? For a second?"

"Yeah, okay." She looked flustered. I don't know what was she expecting.

"I—I can't do this, sorry. I thought I could but it's so unfair, to you, to me… I can't."

"What, are you asexual?"

"No." Deep breaths. Everything is going to be fine. "I'm bisexual. I—"

I was trying to figure out the way to put it, but she was faster than me.

She covered her mouth with her hand.

"Is it—Montgomery?" I nodded.

Of course, everyone knows, except him.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry", she said, and pulled me into a hug. Not the reaction I was expecting. I thought, fire, knives, screaming, blood, A&E, but no. "I was thinking that maybe you had a thing for him, but I said to myself, no, he's straight, he's with me, it can't be. It's all clear now. I was your beard."

"You could put it that way. I thought you were going to be pissed off at me."

"Oh, please, Detroit", she made a 'pish' sound. "I never thought you and I were a perfect pair. I was planning on breaking up with you today, and getting bad news is usually better recieved after a makeout session."

All is coming up Detroit.

"I hoped it would be that way", I said and moved away from her hug. "Now that that's done, are we officially broken up?"

"I'd say so, yeah. We've successfully turned this friendship to a relationship and then back again. I really like you, Detroit, but I don't want to date you. Sorry."

"Are you kidding me", I let out a relieved laugh, "that's the best news I've heard all week."

"I'm glad it is."

We spent the rest of the night finishing our dinner, watching shitty zombies, and laughing at lame jokes. Having Mischka as a friend seemed like a good thing to have, and it would make my life easier. Deja vu much?

But I can't help to think about Montgomery. It was obvious now; everyone knew. So does he know? Does he even want to be with me? And, maybe the most important one, will I ever be brave enough to tell him everything?

Probably not would be my answer to all the questions above.

Does he know? No, Montgomery is oblivious.

Does he even want to be with me? No, he has Leonard.

And I'm most certainly not brave. I can't imagine ever telling him. I'm just not courageous.

But now that everybody knows (and knows I know) it's time for the peer pressure to kick in.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:11 pm

And from then on, everything I did was walking on ice. Sure, I'd produced cracks before, but the top layer hadn't cracked. Yet.

Here come the elephants. Or, maybe, women in high heels.

You know what, this metaphor is shit. Just forget it.

Montgomery discovered that watching telly was always better than doing anything, so weekends quickly became TV days. I liked nothing more than just watching him watch. Creepy, stalker, call me anything you want, I've heard it all. But I just can't help myself.

Most of the Saturdays were spent in silence, just a few questions about food and tea, but on Sundays, oh, we'd argue about miniscule things and compete who can play music louder.

Because Sunday was cleaning day.

"Detroit! Turn off the vacuum!" he'd yell at me from the living room as I'd tidy up my room.

"I'm vacuuming, I'm rather sure you can't do that without a vacuum, although I'm open for discussion", I said.

"Fuck you", he'd say, in such a pleasant voice I'd have to cough a maybe-laugh, maybe-something else. "I want to put on some music."

"Then do so. I'm not holding you back from anything."

"But you're loud!"

"I'm vacuuming!"

That's just one of the arguments we had. To write down all of them would require thousands of novels.

It's not difficult to clean up a house that small. It is, however, difficult when your flatmate decides that loud noises scare him, and that the vacuum wants to eat him. Then you have a problem.

Thankfully, I loved him. Otherwise I would have beaten him to death with a baseball bat, if I could find one.

Getting all domestic with Montgomery was a change I was both fully ready for and reluctant about. There were strange things floating around in my mind whenever he'd shove me onto my bed playfully (to make me stop talking and then return to whatever he was doing before), and especially when he tried to get the cleaning liquid from me and nearly strangled me, but with his hands around my shoulders.

That man had no idea what was going on, right? He didn't even know what he did to me.

Sometimes, it seemed so easy. Grabbing the collar of his shirt and pulling him in, one second. Telling him the truth, three seconds. Wrapping my hands around him, maybe five. It was all so close. I could taste it, feel it on my fingertips.

And that Sunday night, it was the same.

Shit telly, tea, clean house, making up after a fight.

"I'm sorry I stole the window cleaning stuff", he said.

"I'm sorry I sprayed it into your hair afterwards", I replied. His hair lay limply on his ears, half-wet from the wash.

"Good, now when we got that out of our way, dinner?" I asked.

"Sure, but I'm not making it." If you're thinking that nobody in this house cooked, you're a hundred percent right.

"Pancakes?" I suggested.

Montgomery stared at me.

"I'll take that as a yes", I got up. He followed after me like an obedient puppy.

"I haven't had pancakes in years."

See under; 'I haven't had pancakes since you left'. See also; 'Detroit is a bastard'.

"Well, we're gonna make some now."

Of course, I suddenly remembered all the times we ate pancakes together. I remembered falling in love over cups of steaming hot tea and empty plates, and it made me dizzy.

But the pancake batter got made, nobody got killed, jam and nutella were dug up from somewhere while Montgomery mocked me with his sugar, and we survived.

"No, this is the first one, the first one is always the worst", I complained as he rolled up the first, weak pancake and attacked it. He sat on the counter and swang his legs, like a little child. Or, just a child. He wasn't exactly little.

A scene flashed through my mind. What if I was sitting on that counter? We'd be almost the same height. He'd pull me in for a kiss, I'd run my fingers through his damp hair, I'd find a way to take off his stupid, bleached Beatles hoodie—

"Detroit?"

"Yeah?"

"You're burning your pancake."

"Shit."

Somehow I managed to stay focused just enough to finish all the pancakes so we could carry them to the living room.

"You don't like nutella?" I asked as I ate my second pancake.

"I do, but it doesn't take any skill. Sugar is runny and gets out of your pancake easily. Nutella, not so much."

"I beg to differ."

Turns out nutella was, in fact, easier to eat than sugar, but it gets you awfully messy.

Montgomery had one smudge of nutella left above his top lip.

I could almost imagine how he'd taste paired with chocolate.

Licking the nutella off of his lips. Two seconds.

But I didn't do it.

"You've got some on your upper lip", I told him.

"Oh, yeah", he removed it with his tongue. Might have focused on it more than I should have.

Of course all the pancakes got eaten. I don't call my pancakes good for no reason.

(I also noticed that Montgomery and I ate the same amount. I felt like flailing and dancing around the room in circles. Anorexia, gone. It took him a while, but he was fine now. It makes me giddy.)

Leonard didn't call, Mischka didn't call, nobody called. It was a night just for us, even though we could have used it up better.

It really costed nothing but one, two, three seconds to end this, didn't it? Just one move of muscles, one brain command?

I used to laugh at people on shows who just couldn't tell their crush they loved them. I'd say, 'it's not like it's hard'. But, oh, is it hard.

I was torn between two sides and it was impossible for me to pick just one. My morals didn't let me, because on either of the choices, somebody gets hurt. Whether it's Mischka, Leonard, Summer, or even Montgomery and me. Somebody will get hurt, and I can't help it.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:22 pm

On Monday, Montgomery asked me something while we were having dinner.

"Detroit", he said and coughed.

"Yeah?" I replied while taking the dishes to the kitchen.

"I was wondering… Hm." It wasn't like Montgomery to avoid the subject. I returned to him and sat down. "Well, umm, Leonard asked me yesterday if I'd… Like to spend the night at his place."

I stared at him blankly.

What does he expect me to say?

"And, er, I'd figured you have more experience in the area… So. Um. Any tips?"

What the actual fuck.

"No, hm, not really. It's, it's mostly instinct, first kisses, then hands around him then it, err, escalates."

"Err. Yeah."

"Well."

I have no fucking clue.

"So. I'll see ya tomorrow."

He got his jacket and walked out of the door, leaving me paralysed.

I don't know when he came back home. I went directly to my room, and stayed there until work next morning.

When I returned from work, he was on the sofa. I joined him.

He didn't look any different, but, I didn't really want to look at him.

"Detroit?" he said. I looked at him.

"Yeah?"

And, suddenly, I could taste him on my lips. He'd leaned in and kissed me.

I didn't know why.

At first I didn't know how to react, but it wasn't long before his tongue found his way into my mouth, and I found out exactly how to react.

We'll think about the consequences in the morning.

I kissed him back, which left us both gasping in matter of minutes.

'First kisses, then hands around him.'

Montgomery's hands found their way around my neck and into my hair, and he climbed on top of me, closer than I could ever imagine.

He sat on my thighs, accidentally too close, and I winced before I put my hands on his hips, for just a little bit control.

Now that it was happening, it was hard to control anything. It was an erupting volcano.

He moaned into my mouth, which sent shivers down my spine. I never knew he was able to create such noises.

And we were chest to chest. I could feel his heart beat an uneven rhythm, something close to mine.

It took a tug of his hands in my hair to remind me that it was really happening. I felt like I could wake up every second in a cold, lonely room. But I only got warmer. I felt the heat from his fingers drip down my back, and before I knew it, there was no way I could think.

I gasped for air and grabbed the back of his shirt, scrunching it and pulling him, somehow, even closer. When our hips met, he let out a soft whimper, and I used the opportunity to move my lips to his neck and return my hands to his hips, to make him stop bucking. I never wanted this to end, but if it continued like this, it might end in less in a second.

As I kissed the skin on his neck, it was a bit easier to focus since there was no response but broken moans (also hip movements I could control, or at least I hoped so). I might be the first person to get those noises past Montgomery's lips. Leonard is completely out of the picture. It was just me and him. There was no more time to think, because he pulled my head up and returned his lips to mine, and my thoughts scattered like stars.

I opened my eyes to look at him. His were closed, so I closed mine again as well.

There was some music in the background. I couldn't concentrate on it to figure out which song, or the gender of the person singing it. But after all, it wasn't important.

My mind wandered to any other subject than the reason Montgomery kissed me.

And honestly, I don't even think I wanted to know.

That moment, right there, was everything I needed.

I wanted to kiss the bitterness out of him, and all his bad memories, and emotional scars. If there was any taste of anybody else on his lips and in his mouth, I wanted to make sure that after me, there won't be anymore.

I could taste the inexperience in his uncoordinated kisses, and that was probably the only thing which kept me sure the person I was kissing Montgomery, not somebody random I picked up in a bar when drunk.

I wanted to show him just how much I wanted him and just for how long, and hope he felt the same.

There was a moment when the kiss turned endlessly sweet, soft, and I felt like melting. A quiet cry went pass my lips, and I could feel his eyes on me. I opened mine. We broke apart.

He was taller than me, sitting on my thighs. His eyes were more black than brown, and his lips were parted, breathing heavily.

He finally looked at me, but I had a feeling it would be better if he didn't.

When his lips returned to mine, he nearly drew blood, and I knew I couldn't last much longer.

I lost any connections I had with my arms and they dropped limply between his legs.

"F—fuck", he grumbled, and I lost him.

His head fell back as he choked one last and final gasp. It didn't take me long after him, since he returned his lips to mine, and I lost myself in the velvety smooth sensation of his lazy and exhausted tongue dancing with mine.

I came with a whimper and fell back on the sofa, Montgomery on top of me.

His ear ended on my heart, which was just beginning to calm its pace. I listened to his ragged breathing until it went back normal.

I don't know how long I lay there, blind, deaf, invisible to the world, knowing only Montgomery, curled up on my chest, on top of me, before falling asleep.

It's still too soon to process my thoughts. I'll be smarter in the morning. But for now, I'll replay this scene in my mind until I'm sure it's real.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:29 pm

I woke up alone on the sofa, dizzy, as if after a hangover, and as I scrambled towards the bathroom for a shower, realisation struck me like lightning.

I could still feel his fingers in my hair.

Oh my god.

What the hell was that?

Wait, no. I knew exactly what the hell was that. I just had quick, clothed sex with Montgomery, like we're hormone driven, happy-go-lucky adolescents.

Whoops.

I threw my clothes into the laundry basket (and saw Montgomery's jeans sticking out, which was just another sobering detail) and went through my thoughts while I showered.

Montgomery spent the night at Leonard's. No, wait. Maybe not true. I know only that he went there. Oh god. Did Leonard tell Montgomery about me? Shit. But if he did, and if he feels the same, that would explain why he kissed me. But that was the most optimistic and the least likely scenario. It was more probable that Montgomery misinterpreted Leonard's messages. Maybe Leonard just wanted Montgomery to watch a movie, and when Montgomery returned home, he was sexually frustrated and just needed a quick get off? Even less likely. This was too complicated for me.

And where was Montgomery, really?

There was nowhere he could be. We went shopping not long ago, so there was nothing missing for the house. Leonard's, maybe?

A little bit of hope in me became a lot. Maybe he was breaking up with him to be with me.

That would be ideal.

As I got dressed, I noticed a sliver of red on my lower lip. Huh. Dried blood. From a bitemark, maybe?

I was getting dizzy again, so I ignored it.

If I think about the way he kissed me I fear I might lose feeling in my legs and fall. His kisses tasted like falling.

I got out of the bathroom, and my first thought was to call Summer.

"It's really early, you better have a fuckin' reason to call me", said Summer's tired voice.

"Yes, I have a perfectly good reason. Are you around any people?" I asked.

"No, mister husband just left me for his work, I'm still in bed. Why?"

"I… Um."

"Detroit what did you do."

"…Montgomery."

"..."

"…"

"OH DEAR LORD I KNEW IT."

"Shush!"

"WHAT HAPPENED AND WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED ABOUT IT—"

"He kissed me yesterday, and, well."

"Christ, Detroit." Summer got a bit too enthusiasic. She took a second for breathing and then returned to shouting. "HE KISSED YOU? I TOLD YOU, DIDN'T I? HE'S HEAD OVER HEELS FOR YOU, YOU'RE A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN, I'M ALREADY PLANNING YOUR WEDDING—"

"Summer, stop, no…" How do I explain this to her when I can't even explain it to myself? "Will you shut up so I can tell you what happened?"

The other line was silent, so I figured that was Summer shutting up.

"So. Montgomery said he was going to spend the night at Leonard's on Monday."

"That bitch."

"Shut up! And so he did. I'm not even sure if anything happened or not, but… But. Yesterday, in the evening, Montgomery just kissed me, and I… Didn't want to stop him, so I just… rolled with it?" It all sounded too simple when I put it like that.

"You dawg!"

"Stop, Summer! Now I don't know what to do, because I don't know what's with Montgomery and Leonard, are they still dating—"

"Screw him. Are you dating that girl still?"

"No."

"Then LITERALLY. SCREW. HIM."

"SUMMER NO."

"Detroit, this has been going on for too long and you're more than aware of it. Now what you're gonna do is tell him that you love him and get married in July because that's when I'm coming over."

"You're looking way too much into this", I said. But I'd frankly want nothing less.

It finally became a possibility, being with him. I could imagine waking up next to him, and possibly repeating that scene from yesterday. Just one thought about it, and I already felt my limbs going numb. This has already gone too far for it to be ignored.

"Wait, where is Montgomery, anyway?" Summer asked.

"I don't know. He left before I woke up."

"What? Call him or something, I want to know how this ends."

Probably with someone in tears, like I've already figured out before. There is no way everybody can be happy after this. There will be no compromise.

"I don't know, Summer… I just… Montgomery is complicated, I'm sure he had his reasons—"

"His reason is love."

"Awful, cliché, not Montgomery."

"Sometimes love is awful and cliché."

"Stop it, Summer."

"Hell no! I've been waiting for you two to get together for years, I'm not quitting now."

"Stop."

"No way."

I sighed and hung up, almost knowing that she'll call Montgomery next. Sometimes I don't believe her.

I spend the next few hours before work waiting for Montgomery, but he didn't come, so that meant I had to go to work without a word from him.

Before I even took off my coat in my office, Mischka was on my door.

"What happened to you?" she asked.

"Nothing, why?"

"You look… Radiant."

I blushed. How could they always know?

"Um. Last night… Yeah."

"Uh oh. What happened?" she asked, walking over to my desk.

"Um. I… I will tell you later, when the dust settles down." Now, Summer I could trust. Mischka has only known about my thing for Montgomery for a month or so. I think Summer is a more careful choice.

"Yes, alright. Don't forget to tell me, I'm curious now", she smiled at me and left my office.

I could pretend I didn't spend most of my work hours staring at my phone, waiting for a text, a call, anything. I could pretend that I didn't flinch every time the door opened, hoping it was Montgomery. Of course I could pretend, but it would be easier of we just spoke the truth, for once.

But he didn't call, didn't text, didn't appear, and I started to get a bit nervous. What if he realised he made a huge mistake and left me for good?

I don't think I could handle that.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:35 pm

Montgomery wasn't in the living room when I came back from work, so I went directly to his bedroom.

"Montgomery?" I knocked on the door. "Ya in there?"

The door opened and a hand pulled me in by my sleeve without an explanation.

He sat me on his bed and stared at me, with his arms crossed on his chest.

"Detroit", he said, overly serious. "Before… Anything… I have a couple of questions."

"Good", I said, ignoring the stupid, warm feeling coiling in the back of my stomach. "Good, because I have a couple of questions also."

There were a few seconds of silence, and he started asking.

"Since… When? Since when did you want to…" He coughed. Coughing was the new way of trailing off.

"Maybe… Three years now? Three and a half years, it has to be. I don't know the specific date. You?"

"When you, um… I think, probably when you allowed me to keep Ringo."

So this conversation was 90% awkward, long pauses, and stuttering. The way he looked at me, barely blinking, it made me speak up.

"And what about Leonard then?"

"He told me about you. He said it was stupid of you, and that it was useless, because I was with him, but the truth is, I never considered being with him long term."

"Why were you with him this whole time then?"

It was the moment of truth, and we finally stopped lying to each other. It was both relieving, and stressful.

"I started dating him because Summer told me to, and I continued dating him to make you jealous. I'd figured that you'd say something, anything. What about Mischka?"

"Mischka made herself my girlfriend. I never liked her as anything more than a friend."

Was that it? Years of secrets only for a couple of lines of dialogue to solve it all?

"Why did you kiss me?" I asked.

He stopped for a second, uncrossed his arms, and licked his lower lip.

"Um. I wanted to know what it felt like. For so long I distanced myself from anything… Of that kind, because… You know. But I trusted you. I trust you."

"Do you?" Trust is an emotion which will set us free. "Montgomery, do you trust me", I asked, and got up. He didn't say a word until we were chest to chest, my arms around his waist.

"Yes."

We kissed, and it wasn't rushed, forced. Nobody had to go anywhere, nobody's phone rang. Slower and less frantic, it was all the first kiss should be. Except, it wasn't the first one.

"Can— can I say something?" he asked, moving away from me. But his hands remained over my neck, and mine around his waist.

"Please do", I said, resting my look in his eyes.

"I've—I've thought about it for a while, but it was never a good time, it would always seem out of place, but now, when the chips fell… Detroit?"

"Montgomery?"

"I love you."

Let's pretend my heart didn't start beating wildly against my chest. Let's pretend my feet didn't give up their function, and that the only thing holding me up were his hands. Let's pretend I didn't wait for this moment for so long, and now that it arrived, I couldn't say a word. Let's pretend I opened my mouth to say something, not just to stare at him blankly.

"Um", he stuttered, "maybe… Too soon? I don't know, I don't know how relationships are supposed to go, I—"

"Montgomery, it's, it's fine, everything you do, it's fine. You're perfect. It's me who's a little messed up in the head."

"Yeah right", he huffed.

"No, Montgomery… I want to make this right. I want— I dunno, rose petals, grand announcments. This just seems so ordinary." He smiled at me, and I had to smile back.

"Let's go with ordinary for once", he said and pressed his lips against mine again.

I muttered 'I love yous' through our kiss, and it was almost as perfect as the one before, but.

Montgomery's phone rang.

He grumbled a complaint as we separated and ran his fingers through his strawy hair, making it stick up like crazy. Am I allowed to stare at it now?

"I bet you five quid I know who that is", I said.

"Summer", we said, at the same time.

"She's been trying to call me all day", Montgomery said and fetched his phone from the desk. "The bet is not valid."

"Shame", I said.

Montgomery put Summer on speaker.

"Montgomery please listen to me, goddamnit. You know what you made of Detroit? You confused the man out of his bloody mind. You go to him, tell him all about your fuckin' mind games, you two go get together and never let each other go. C'mon, Mon, I've seen you when Det left you. I do not want to deal with that. Again."

"Hi, Summer", I said. She finally shut up.

Montgomery grinned at me.

"Well shit."

"Seems like I can handle it myself, don't you think?" Montgomery laughed.

"So… Um."

"Yeah." He just couldn't wipe that stupid grin off his face.

"Well this is an anticlimax."

"I'd beg to differ", I smirked, which earned me an elbow in my stomach.

"Oi", he warned me.

"You're my first match", Summer said, in an unusual, slow tone, still processing. "I'm the best matchmaker in the world."

"Yeah right", Montgomery said, while I was still trying to catch my breath. "Oh, damn, did I hit you hard? I'm sorry."

"It's fine. You're stronger than you think you are", I panted.

"I've been working out."

"Really?"

"No."

"Shit", Summer broke our banter. "You two are so cute." Montgomery and I shared a confused glance. "Have to call my man. See ya, loves! Enjoy!"

She hung up.

"What", I asked.

"I literally have no idea."

"Hm."

"Hm."

Now that this huge problem was out of the way…

"Hey", I said, "what do you say, pancakes and a shitty romcom?"

"Is that a date?"

"Yeah."

"Sure", he smiled at me.

It was that easy.

Of course, later we might run into some problems. (Later as in tomorrow.) Life isn't perfect.

We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:43 pm

And as I drown, he is my anchor;

And as I fall, he is my gravity.

My eternal pain, my silent rage.

Something somewhere over the brink of my sanity.

He's taking me down with him, to our sacred Hell.

And I don't mind burning in his fire.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery and Detroit   Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:44 pm

"Hi boys", I heard a familiar, infamous voice from the front door. Montgomery, who was hovering above me, pushed himself back to look me in the eyes. "Sorry I couldn't make it to the wedding yesterday, you should have notified sooner. But I'm here now, to get you your present and what not."

"Shit", he whispered and started buttoning my shirt up. "What is Summer doing here?"

"You know", she continued, dropping something on the floor and making her way to the kitchen. Since the sofa was opposite the kitchen, it would be logical she saw us intertwined on the sofa, but no. She started making tea, all under confused stares from Montgomery and me. "It isn't such big of a deal though, right? Just signing some papers. You should have got me to arrange you a wedding. After my own, you could say I have some experience. Weddings are fun."

'What the hell', I mouthed to Montgomery. He seemed to be as shocked as I was.

"Did anybody even come? Did you take pictures? Wear tuxedos? I'm going to turn around in five seconds and if you're not dressed and in a normal, proper position, I'm going to burn you with this boiling water."

Montgomery hopped off me. He knew better than to mess with Summer. We both did.

Summer turned around and sat on the armchair.

"Hi", she said with a smile. "Congratulations, newly-weds, blah blah."

I straightened up, controlling my breathing and flattening my hair. Of course, Montgomery's was in much worse state, but he didn't even bother to tame it.

"If you don't mind me asking, what the hell were you doing on that poor, traumatised sofa?"

"Well", I decided to join the conversation. "It is our first wedding night, I'm pretty sure you know the procedure."

"Don't give me that bullshit", she shook her head. Montgomery threw his legs over me and leaned back, sensing that it was going be a long talk. Domestic. "First wedding nights in the past were meant for the brides to get pregnant. I don't see any brides here."

"You were a bride", Montgomery said. "Yet you still have no children."

"That's irrelevant. I don't want kids just yet."

"Wow, what a surprise", Montgomery snorted.

"I swear to god he's got cockier ever since you two've been together", Summer told me.

"No, he's always been like that, just now you have started nitpicking", I said.

"Still here", Montgomery said and frowned. "I am not cocky."

"Yeah, right", Summer smirked.

"Sorry, Montgomery, but you are. Sometimes. Doesn't mean I can't put up with you."

"Gee, thanks", Montgomery hit my thigh with his foot. "That's why you married me, right? Because you can put up with me? 'I pronounce you, putting-up-with-each-others'."

"Yes, exactly. But there were some other factors, maybe less relevant", I said, for a second forgetting that Summer was in the room. What can I tell you, hormones and adrenaline.

"Which factors?" He asked. I took it as a challenge. I crawled to the top of the sofa back to him.

"First off, I love you. Second off, you pay half of the bloody rent with the money from your totems. Third off, you're the only one who will eat as much pancakes as I do so you can't make me feel bad about my calorie intake. Then—" just as I was inching closer towards his lips, Summer. Just Summer.

"Ah, eww, please stop."

I made an unpleased sound and returned to my original spot.

"You're no fun", I said, looking back at Summer.

"I just don't want anything happening while I'm around. When I leave, go at it like rabbits, I don't care."

"That's a disgusting image", Montgomery frowned.

"Well yeah. Welcome to my world. Anyways, look what I got you", she got up and hopped off to the front door, where she left her… Something, I don't know. She returned with a bag from a store which I didn't recognise. "Look!"

"What exactly am I looking at?" I asked.

"I got you wallpaper for that ugly-arse wall", she pointed at a wall on the right of the sofa. "I've been planning to do something with it since I moved in, and in the meantime I moved out, and Detroit drama happened—"

"Hey", I complained.

"Shush", Montgomery said.

"So anyway. My gift to you is wallpaper, wallpaper glue, and lots of fun while you try to figure it all out", Summer had the biggest grin on her face.

"So you waited for… Five years to buy a wallpaper?" Montgomery didn't seem to understand Summer. Actually, he never did. I can only dream about the time he and Summer lived in this house alone, and together.

"Wait", I had bigger things to worry about. "We aren't as incompetent in fixing things as you think we are."

Summer just laughed, and didn't say a word.

"Rude."

"I think we've established that already", she said.

"Just leave her, it's useless", Montgomery said and sighed.

"No, I won't. I can win an argument."

"No you can't."

"Aw", Summer squeaked. "You two are just too cute. You always reminded me of an old married couple, and now it's finally fully correct."

"Are you saying we're old?" Montgomery raised an eyebrow.

"I'll be leaving", Summer said and sprinted out of the house. Unbelievable. She even left her tea.

"This was the most abrupt and confusing visit we've had in our married life. Maybe ever", Montgomery pointed out.

"Yes", I said and leant back on the sofa. "But screw it, never mind her. Wanna watch a movie or something?"

"Sure."

Looking back at it now, I'm glad we didn't make a big thing out of that whole wedding thing. After all, it doesn't make a difference. If we weren't married, we would be watching a movie cuddled up on the sofa, and now, we're watching a movie cuddled up on the sofa with thin, silver rings on our fingers. (It was my first ring. It was Montgomery's sixteenth.)

And, god, do I love him. It becomes more and more natural every day, and I keep losing that feeling that I will wake up in an empty bed.

He's always on the other side of it, keeping me warm.

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