NEW YORK CITY
Sometime in the fall, midday
"Have you found a new place yet?"
"No... not yet."
"Bummer. You're roommate still being annoying?"
"Yeah. He's actually getting a bit worse."
"Really? What happened?"
"So I after I left you and the others at the club the other night I went back to my apartment and the first thing I see is Joey having sex with two women on my bed!"
"Yeah. But wait... there's more! He had broken the living room table, the lamp, and my bed. The legs were fuckin' broken and the bed was on the floor!"
"Yeah! AND HE DIDN'T STOP!"
"Now I need a drink." They both laugh.
"Well, we can go out tomorrow night. Then maybe I can try to help you find a new place."
"That would be amazing."
"Perfect. I'll text you about times later. I should really get back to work."
"Boo, you whore!" They both laugh and hug.
"Just enjoy your day off. Do something fun." He says as he walks away and out of the park.
He takes a seat back on the bench. Something fun? He thinks about it. Fun? He goes out and has fun with friends all the time. He goes to parties. He has game nights. He has movie nights.
But he's never really had fun by himself. So he just sits there for a while. He does some people watching. He watches as people walk their dogs.
As men and women rush through the park on their way to something important. As a hoard of women in yoga pants with strollers speed walk through the crowds.
After a while, he stands up and decides to go back to his apartment. He loves walking through the city. Even when he has to walk far he always prefers to walk then take the subway or a cab.
He likes to watch people. He likes to listen to all the little and big noises coming at him from all directions. He even likes the odd smells that change every couple of feet.
So when he arrives at his apartment he's pretty relaxed and happy.
"Shit!" He yells as he opens his apartment door and sees Joey naked and grooming himself in the middle of the living room.
He can't look away, but he really wants to. Joey looks up at him but doesn't care and continues without saying a word. So he doesn't go in and closes the door.
He turns around and stands there, trying to focus his mind on something else. And for some reason the first thing that rushes to the front of his mind is work.
He knows it sounds weird to others, but he loves work. He loves his job more than most people in the city. He loves it more than anyone else he knows.
So he heads to work. He doesn't think about it, just leaves. He heads to the upper east side. Then he goes into work.
"Hey." He greats his manager as he walks in.
"Hey. What are you doing here?"
"Well..." He doesn't really know. "I just wanted to know if you guys needed help today."
"It's your day off. You haven't had a day off in months."
"I was bored and trying to stay away from the roommate of mine."
"Well you know I can't exactly pay you to work today."
"I know. I can just volunteer."
"Great. Then how 'bout you go to the back and help Becca finish with her customer."
"Sure. Thanks." He walks through to the back.
"Hey. What you doing here?"
"You're nuts." They both laugh.
"So, Becs, who's this cute little pup?" He leans down to pet this small terrier puppy.
"This is Buttons."
"Aww." He scratches behind Buttons' ear.
"He's new here. His owners just moved in down the block."
"Cool." He stands up. "What do you need help with?"
"Can you just brush his teeth. Other than that he's done."
"Perfect." He grabs the tools and goes down and begins brushing the dog's teeth.
"So what's the real reason you're volunteering today?"
"Your roommate?" Becca looks to him.
"Yeah." They both smile and laugh. "He was manscaping in the middle fo the living room."
"Eww." She stands up and reaches for a bandanna. "Is he at least good to look at?"
"He thinks he is." They both laugh.
"Hey Button's owner's here." The manager pops his head in.
"Can you take him up?" She ties the bandanna on him. "I've got another dog to start."
"Sure." He picks Buttons up and walks out to the front desk. "You're so cute Buttons. So cute." He whispers into Button's ear before walking out front and freezing where he is when he looks up.
"Alex." Bryce stands at the front desk wearing a suit and looking the best he's ever looked.
"Bryce." Alex is shocked as he stares at Bryce's slightly longer and more styled hair and expensive suit.
"Umm..." Bryce stares at Alex's long brown hair and is amazed by how good and happy he looks. "How are you doing?" He's getting sweaty and nervous.
"I've been good. And you?" It all feels weird and formal.
"I've been good."
"This is your dog?" Alex holds up Buttons.
"Well, yeah..." Just then the store door opens and a tall and thin blonde woman in an amazing outfit walks in.
"Buttons!" She screeches and runs up to Alex.
Alex hands Buttons off and the woman start's talking in baby voices and kissing him. He looks over to Bryce whose face has gone straight.
"Thanks so much! He looks so cute!" She walks over to Bryce. "You pay yet babe?"
"Not yet." Alex walks up to the register and Bryce hands him his credit card. "You wanna go outside and let him pee? I'll meet you out there." They kiss.
"Sure babe." She walks out.
"Alex." Bryce tries to look at Alex and say something.
"Here's your receipt." He hands Bryce the receipt, for just a second locking eyes before he looks away.
"Can we talk?"
"I'm kinda busy now." Alex starts grabbing and doing random things on the counter.
"Well if you want to talk, maybe meet up for a drink, just call me." He grabs a card from his inside his jacket and places it on the counter. "Please. I would really like to see you again.
It's been almost eight years."
"Have a good day." Alex looks at Bryce and smiles.
"You too." Bryce smiles and walks out.