The two men pulled their luggage into the apartment.
The first man, a muscular blonde, had a big rucksack on his back with dozens of fluffy keyrings that jingled with every one of his bouncy steps. He also carried a case with a broken wheel and handle in front of his chest. He jumped around though as if it was weightless.
‘Wow! Wow! Wow!’ He shouted out as he ran around the living room. ‘Look, how big this sofa is! Look the kitchen is part of the main room! Look at these cute little chairs to sit on in the kitchen part. I can sit and tell jokes keeping you amused while you cook your rabbit food, and you can sit here slobbering in hunger when I make my nice tasty grub! And look at the windows they are really big! Look at the view, right opposite the car park! Like if we ever get a car we can park it there and then come up here and look at it! And there’s a desk and a posh spinny chair thing!’
He dropped his luggage to the floor with a clang and started spinning around the room on the chair that creaked under the energy of his movements.
The second man was dark-haired, almost as tall as the first but with long lean muscles rather than bulk. He had a small case he wheeled behind him. He removed his shoes in the entrance area. Then moved carefully into the main living room and looked around with a critical eye but said nothing.
‘Is this not the most awesome thing in the world?’ With a loud scream of excitement, the blonde pushed off extra hard and spun the chair into a bookcase next to the leaner man.
The dark-haired man deftly caught a vase, and steadied the bookcase before it crashed to the ground. He waited a moment while the blonde grunted under the upturned chair and a pile of heavy looking encyclopaedias, then secured the bookcase back against the wall and replaced the vase.
‘Don’t worry! Nothing broken!’ The blonde struggled to right himself.
‘Because of me,’ the lean man said. ‘This place and its fixtures are too cheap to survive your energy. Sort yourself out and be more careful.’
‘Right you are. Once we start uni, I’ll burn all my energy out with all the exercise and other stuff, yaknow, like partying and learning and…stuff. This is going to be my relaxing space. Our home is going to be a haven of calm.’ As he spoke the blonde quickly replaced the books on the shelf, then he leapt over to the sofa with only the slight hint of a limp.
The brunette hunkered down and re-sorted the books so they were all facing the correct way and back in order.
‘You don’t have to worry about all that neat and tidy rubbish anymore.’ The blonde patted the spot next to him on the sofa and beckoned the man over. ‘Sit down! This is our place; it’s going to be nothing like the orphanage. No one can moan at us anymore about anything! We can put our feet on the sofa and no one will ever tell us off ever again!’ He immediately stretched out his legs across the sofa.
The lean man came over and knocked the blonde’s feet down onto the ground. ‘House rules, starting now. Remove your shoes when you come in. No shoes on furniture. Ever.’
The blonde eyebrows shot up and he grinned with pure happiness. ‘House rules? Wow! We are making our own house rules already. That sounds so grown up. I can’t believe we’re really here, that we’ve got our own place. Together! Two alpha best friends starting our new life together. Wow. This is it. This is as good as it gets.’ The blonde gazed with wide joyful eyes around the room. ‘Imagine how much omega pussy we are going to have in here! You won’t be worrying about shoes on the sofa when this room is wall to wall dripping with slick.’
‘You did not say that.’
For the first time the blonde’s smile faltered. He rubbed the back of his head bashfully. ‘Yeah, I did. It sounded bad, didn’t it?’
‘I just, you know, when alphas live together in telly shows and in films that’s the sort of thing they say. Isn’t it?’
‘I wouldn’t know. I have never had any desire to watch any of the things you stay up all night glued to.’
‘Yeah, I’m going to ignore that dig at me being thick or whatever, because I need to be real for a moment.’ The blonde took a few deep breaths. ‘I need this to be a new start. I want to be normal. This will be the first time in my life that no one knows about my past.’
The dark-haired man shook his head. ‘Stop being so dramatic. You make it sound like you are a mass murderer.’
‘Again. Letting that pass because you don’t know what it’s like being bullied. Everyone’s always loved you. You’re not like a proper orphan at all. Know I’m fully aware that we only got this sweet deal with this place because of you. If it was me here alone, I’d be on the streets left to fend for myself again.’ He leaned in close to the other man’s ear and said in what for him was a whisper, what for everyone else was foghorn volume, ‘Are the rumours true about you and yaknow that sexy omega lady and what you did to get her to sponsor us through our courses?’
The man’s steely gaze did not falter for a moment. ‘If the rumours specify that I met with her and her alpha….’
The blonde’s eyes widened. ‘The alpha too? I know you’re like hot hot hot, but how does it work with another alpha involved?’
‘It works that we sat down together discussing tax breaks and the advantageous publicity of supporting two poor pathetic orphans to overcome their pitiful disadvantages. And how they could only become successful men if someone was unbelievably generous. And if such kind benefactors existed the pathetic orphans will be eternally grateful to them. And said orphans will be sure to make the full extent of their humble gratitude known at whatever events or media outlets that said benefactors specify for the rest of their blessed lives.’
‘And? Then what happened? After the boring official chatting stuff, what did you do to seal the deal? Don’t hold back on me now, mate. I am always honest and tell you everything.’
‘Because your everything is precisely nothing.’
‘Yes! Exactly! You know that I am an alpha who has reached eighteen and is still a virgin. I trust you with all my secrets.’
The other man pinched his nose. ‘It was bad enough travelling all this way with you bouncing next to me like a caffeinated toddler and pointing out every single tree as if you’d never seen anything green before. I cannot stand…’
‘I knew you were awake! I knew you were only pretending to be asleep on the train! Like who could be asleep for that long.’ The blonde waggled his finger in the other man’s face, but then almost immediately slumped back into the sofa with a huge sigh. ‘This is not going right. This is exciting. You must feel that a bit. Right? I know you had a life before yaknow the orphanage so you have done more stuff than I have, but this still must be a big deal for you, yeah? We’re two best friends, starting our adult lives together. This is as special as it gets. I got at the orphanage you acting all cold with me, because you don’t want people to say the things they say about me about you just because you’re hanging out with me. But we’re free of all that now. We’re starting new. No one will judge you for being my friend.’ Despite the loud confidence of his voice, doubt clouded his eyes and creased his brow. ‘It will be different, won’t it, Aki?’
‘I’ve told you not to call me that,’ the other man retorted although his voice was not as hard as it’d been before. ‘Use my full name.’
‘And I’ve told you to call me Harry, but you refuse to do that so I am going to keep calling you Aki until you do.’
‘Your name is fine, A…’
The blonde moved with lightening speed to put his hand over the other man’s mouth.
‘Do not ever call me that stupid name! Not here in our new life. You understand about stupid names. That’s how we bonded remember?’ The blonde was back to grinning again. ‘When you first arrived and no one, not even the adults, knew how to say your name right.’
The brunette pushed the other man away. ‘You were the only one who couldn’t pronounce my full name.’
The blonde spoke over him as if he hadn’t heard. ‘And I told you that I knew how you felt because I suffered the same thing. Although, yaknow, because you were all you, no one bullied you like they bullied me for having an awful name. It’d have been better, wouldn’t it, if my parents died a few days earlier before they could name me!’ The blonde laughed.
The other man remained serious. ‘If you are so obsessed with people treating you differently, you need to start engaging your brain before you speak and learn that 99.9% of what you think should never be spoken aloud.’
The blonde shrugged. ‘I am remembering nice things of how we first became friends. What’s wrong with that? Seriously, tell me what I’m saying wrong. I want when people see me here for them to think: there goes that nice normal alpha called Harry, he’s really normal, and really like an alpha, he’s definitely not some freak who everyone thought was a freak and never believed was an alpha because he was always weird and developed like a zillion years after every other kid who’s ever been born, I hope he’ll be my friend.’
The dark-haired man gazed out of the window. ‘You do not need to get validation from other people. If you want to be a normal alpha so much, that is the only thing you need to focus on. You are an alpha. The world bends to you. Not the other way around.’
‘Is that how you think? Is that why you seem like such a jerk so much of the time?’
‘Yes.’ The dark-haired man stood up. ‘End of lesson. I repeat, that’s all you need to know. You want this to be an exciting amazing awesome dreams come true time of our life? Then don’t bother me with this crap again.’
The blonde watched in silence as the other man wheeled his case across the living space and disappeared behind a door and didn’t re-emerge.
‘Guess that’s a bedroom then, and you’re choosing it all on your own and not asking me what I want?’ he shouted at the closed door.
He sat still for a long time. Too long. He forced a smile back onto his face, leapt back into the spinning chair and laughing propelled himself around his new home.