Naturally, he doesn’t like this plan.
“Like hell you will!” he yells. “I was bein polite by lettin you finish your coffee! You can’t just fuckin invite yourself to stay over!”
“Listen, Strider. I got violent impulses, you know that. And you gotta sleep sometime.”
“I’m a light sleeper and you’re a cripple. Plus you’re not really mad at me.”
“Goddamnit, wipe that smug fuckin smirk off your face! I’m tellin you to get out! This is my place!” His voice cracks. “Even if you ruined it. Even if I gotta leave it.”
“Yeah, that’s another reason I’m staying. Because that’s a USDA choice terrible idea and I reckon I should stick around until you’re over it.”
“Stop!” he wails. “Stop doing me favors!” He gives a hard, angry sniff and shoves the back of his hand across his eyes. “I’m so fuckin sick a people who don’t like me doin shit for me outta a sense a duty! Just so they won’t feel like a asshole! You think I don’t know it’s got nothin to do with me or what I want? An if I don’t like it I’m ungrateful, an if I do like it I’m clingy! I can’t be around people, so will you please, please leave me the fuck alone?”
That’s an interesting spin he’s putting on the situation. You wonder if that’s how it really looks to him, or if the words just came out that way. Not that either possibility would change your answer, which is, “Nope.”
He gives a frustrated yell, mopping at his face with his sleeve, and tries to get up. It’s a struggle, but he seems determined; when it’s clear he’s going to walk on that leg if you don’t stop him, you grab him by the back of the collar and haul him firmly back down. He flails a wild fist at you, but of course it doesn’t connect. You’d have to be a lot tireder than this for his tantrum-fu to be a hazard.
“Quit it, you spaz,” you say gently. “I don’t dislike you. We’re acquaintances. That’s a thing people can be. You could use a hand. It’s hot as fuck in Houston and I don’t feel like going back until I’m done buying the beach house. Win-win. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you: I’m buying your house.”
He’s gone past fury and pain now into a sort of calm bewilderment. “What?”
“Yeah, I swung by there to check on you and saw it was for sale.”
“It’s a nice place. Me and Bro have been thinking of getting out of the urban heat bubble for a while now.”
“No, I… why did you check on me? Why did you come here? Why are you… how did… I don’t understand.”
You shrug. “Equius asked me to check on you. It bothered him that one of us missed the reunion. I reckon it would’ve bugged him no matter who it was. You vanishing like that made me curious, and since I fell in love with that house and decided to buy it, I asked my money guy to see if he could get the seller’s new address. Where you turned up made me even more curious, and the air conditioning was chugging nonstop just to get the apartment down to 80, Bro was taking cold showers like once an hour, it was just fucking ridiculous. So I thought to myself, you know where it would be really nice to be right now? The north shore of Lake Superior. I bet it’s like, sweater weather up there.” You throw back the last gulp of your coffee. “And I like driving. So here I am.”
He spreads his hands helplessly. “So this is all just… spur a the moment? You came here on a whim?”
“And you’re staying on a whim?”
“You took me to the hospital on —”
“Nah, that was more like, holy shit what the fuck is wrong with you walking around flapping open like a deli ham on display, let’s get some stitches in that motherfucker stat. Seriously, man, you are so neurotic.”
He’s quiet for a while. He actually seems to be thinking about it. Eventually he picks up his coffee, takes a drink, and wrinkles his nose. “It’s cold.”
“Own fault. Drink it anyway.”
He drinks it anyway.