Emerson was so happy to be outside. He hadn’t had someone to be around like this in forever. If he had it his way, he’d be able to hang out with everyone at Belfry. However, not everyone wanted to be around him. Mason was all he had right now and truth be told, he’d be sad if he lost him. Even if they hardly knew each other. Emerson was just hoping he found a friend in Mason. He’ll probably find you annoying like everyone else, a small voice told him. No. Not this time.
"Aw come on, you don’t seem like you’d be too bad at sports!" Grinning, Emerson patted Mason’s shoulder and nodded his head. "I mean you have some pretty broad shoulders an all! Plus, you threw that frisbee like a thousand yards! That’s pretty intense!" Emerson cackled and put his hands on his hips as he caught his breath. He chewed on his lip nervously, gazing at Mason’s face and praying maybe they’d be able to take something away from their time today, even if they weren’t done yet. "Maybe we could play P.I.G. or H.O.R.S.E. over at the basketball sometime!"
He looked back up and followed the gutters of Belfry all across the top. Sighing heavily, Emerson shook his head. “If there’s a will there’s a way! The roof is cool! I love heights. How long have you been here? You haven’t once gone to the roof? I mean if you haven’t been here long I totally understand but like..I’m dying to go up there. It’d be so fun!!” Laughing, Emerson shook Mason a little. “Won’t you go up with me if I ever figure out a way? Pretty please with a cherry on top!?”
"I don’t enjoy sports." Mason could play them, sure, and he was reasonably good at skating. But all that had fallen by the wayside once he’d gotten older. And now he didn’t enjoy running around. Especially with someone as loud as Emerson. "It wasn’t that far…" Did he really? Mason wasn’t exactly set on his appearance. He knew he looked far younger than he actually was, but didn’t imagine himself having any desirable characteristics. "I don’t like basketball either." Was he being rude? He hoped not. It was so hard to tell nowadays. But he really didn’t want to spend more time with Emerson than he had to.
Mason glanced at Emerson, then back at the roof. “It’s forbidden. They’ll put you in solitary if they find out that you broke any rules.” It was hard to follow Emerson’s train of thought; he spoke so fast and it was nearly impossible to answer all of his questions. Especially the ones that confused him. Mason’s brow furrowed and he looked down. How long had he been here at Belfry? It had to be…some years, at least. Time was funny that way. But Emerson seemed to be moving on so Mason ignored that thought for now. “I don’t like heights. And I don’t have a reason to go up to the roof.”
When Emerson shook him, he flinched away. “Don’t touch me.” Mason didn’t like people touching him. His parents had given him hugs when he asked, of course, but they’d more or less kept a certain amount of distance between them. They preferred to focus on his education. That was how they showed they cared about each other. It still didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t fond of people touching him, especially strangers.
Grinning at Mason, Emerson laughed and tugged at his wrist. They were going to play dress up whether he liked it or not. The clothes would get put away, eventually. “Me and books! Yep. You’ve changed me. I’m an enlightened man,” he joked. In all actuality, Mason did change him. He wasn’t so wound up all the time. His boyfriend was a source of relaxation. Calming. Almost. Emerson still went crazy sometimes but having Mason around made it even better. Especially when he got in on it, too.
Emerson could’ve kept his hands all over Mason if he’d let him. Except once his hands were on him for too long he started to get antsy because their clothes were too restricting and bare skin on bare skin was always nice. Mason wouldn’t let him get distracted tonight, sadly. “So…I was thinking we could have the closet set up in a way where one side is mine and one side is yours. Since our…’nice’-worthy-of-being-hung-up clothes are different. And the drawers can be for all the things we share.”
He leaned forward and nuzzled into Mason’s cheek. “You know how I love wearing your t shirts,” he murmured. Mason’s always seemed to be softer. However they were bigger and Emerson was beginning to like that. When they reached the bedroom, Emerson skipped away from Mason and spun around in the center. “It feels so biiiiig without any furniture!”
Quickly going over to the boxes, Emerson ripped them open. “OOps…you wanted to save these, didn’t you? I know we can get some boxes at the alcohol store if we need extras ever. But I…like to think we’ll be staying here for a while.” He pulled out one of Mason’s scarfs and wrapped it around himself. “How do I look, dahling?” he asked, lowering his gaze to make eye contact.
Mason laughed, following after Emerson eagerly. No encouragement was needed this time. “You are enlightened,” he said jokingly. “Even just a little bit. At least it doesn’t burn when you touch a book anymore.” See? He could make jokes too. All in all, Mason thought they did make a good pairing. Emerson managed to pull him out of his shell a little, and Mason brought Emerson back down to earth when he needed it. They were good for each other, no matter what anyone else said.
As he followed Emerson, Mason looked around slowly. It was a nice place, really, and he knew they’d make it theirs. Even if they didn’t have a bed right now. Leo was definitely getting a lecture when Mason was through with this. “That’s a good idea,” he said with a smile. “So they don’t get ruined.” Never mind the fact he had to spend ages ironing out all of Emerson’s things anyway. He had no idea how all of Emerson’s clothes managed to get so wrinkled. “I like sharing.” Even though most of Emerson’s clothes were a little tight on him, Mason still loved the way they smelled.
When Emerson leaned in, Mason wrapped an arm around him. He stroked his fingers through Emerson’s hair, enjoying the softness. “You look better in them than I do,” he murmured. It was true. Emerson could pull almost anything off, though. Mason had no idea how he did it. He laughed as Emerson spun away, crossing his arms. “It would look smaller if we had a bed!” This was the last time he depended on Leo for anything. At least anything with time constraints.
Mason sighed as Emerson started destroying the boxes. “We could use them for storage! Or…we could have…” Now it looked like they were destined for the recycling bin. Oh well, maybe next time. Mason smiled and nodded. “I guess you’re right. We’re going to be here for a while.” Maybe indefinitely. But no matter where they ended up, hopefully they were together. As Emerson pulled out one of his scarves, Mason had to laugh. “You look ridiculous, darling,” he replied, imitating Emerson’s accent. “But I love you anyway.”
Mason’s bitterness towards Emerson was kind of hurtful, to be honest. Emerson secretly was looking for someone who would actually find some enjoyment with his company. No one did, as far as he was concerned. Even in high school, it was like they only hung out with him just to keep him occupied for an hour or two. Then they made some story about how they were going home. But when Emerson came to school on Monday, he heard about some party they went to, his heart sinking deep into his stomach.
Even they were annoyed with you. Now Mason was, too, and he didn’t even know him. No, you can do this. His mother told him he would make friends here, people who understood him. “Not everyone. I believe there will always be someone.” Smiling, Emerson straightened up when Mason put his book down. Finally! His eyes sparkled when Mason threw the frisbee and he cackled. “Wow! You threw it super far! Great job!” Emerson sprinted off, feeling the breeze brush against his skin. He prayed Mason wouldn’t leave him while he was getting the frisbee. When he turned around and saw him still sitting, Emerson spun around, smiling to himself.
There’s hope, yet. Stretching out his arms as if he were a plane, Emerson swerved around a tree and headed back to the bench where his-hopefully-new friend was. “You should play frisbee golf! You’re good at throwing! I tried once but I ended up just hitting people.” Shrugging, Emerson handed the frisbee back to Mason. “Do you like heights?” he asked as his curiosity perked, glancing up at the roof.
There had to be an easier way to do this. Mason was starting to get anxious now that he had been away from his room for so long. Wasn’t he supposed to be getting back? What if something happened to his books while he was away? Someone could break into his room and steal them, or hurt them… Mason wrapped his arms a little tighter around his book, feeling a surge of protectiveness. How dare they! Now how could he get away from Emerson in order to check on his books?
Thankfully, the frisbee provided a solution. Mason was tempted to leave as he watched Emerson scamper off. It would be easy enough to go back inside and pretend he had never met the kid. But something kept Mason sitting on that bench, waiting for the return of his…no, they weren’t friends. What were they, exactly? Mason shifted in his spot, trying to come up with the word. It was harder than he thought, and Emerson interrupted him before he could come up with a decent answer anyway.
"I’m not good at sports." What kind of a sport was that supposed to be anyway? It didn’t make sense. Mason could imagine Emerson enjoying it though. It seemed like Emerson would enjoy anything so long as he got to run around. How exhausting. He - somewhat reluctantly - took the frisbee again. "No," he said simply, following Emerson’s gaze. "The door to the roof is locked. They usually monitor it too." He remembered one incident…no, best to forget about it. Hearing about people dying was always sad, even if he knew what would happen to them once their bodies were gone.
Mason’s voice flowing effortless with french seriously made Emerson weak at the knees. He tightened his arms around Mason easily and nuzzled into his cheek, enjoying how soft he was. “I try my best, it’s..really only for you,” he joked. Emerson at least was always nice to Mason. Other people, not so much. If he liked you, sure. If you found some reason to piss him off once, ehhhh not so much.
Emerson glanced around the apartment and sighed happily. He was actually going to make a home for him and his boyfriend. He’d never had a place to himself before. If he had tried doing this alone his mother wouldn’t have let it fly. However, she had trusted Mason from the minute she met him. Therefore she had all but shoved him out the door. “Mason,” Emerson said seriously, looking Mason in the eyes before grinning, “no one expects me.” Which was entirely true. He was a spitfire and no one knew what fireball they were letting into their home when they opened the door.
That didn’t mean he wasn’t sweating the night he met Mason’s parents. He’d tried his best to stay calm and everything. Just for them. For Mason. For..their relationship. The minute he got a soda and some food in him was the minute it went downhill. Or uphill, according to Mason. Kissing Mason once more, Emerson nodded. “Yeah. I love you, too. A lot more than I can even explain. I love you enough to allow you to have books in the same room as me. That says something, at least.” Laughing, Emerson went back to one of the kitchen boxes and started unloading spices. He would do this for Mason and Mason only.
"Pinky promise?" Emerson asked, bottom lip almost pouting. There had been doubts within himself when he’d met Mason. He’s too smart for you. He has plans, he knows what he wants. He’s collected. By the time he guessed maybe it wouldn’t work out, Emerson had already fallen. So he swallowed the insecurities and moved forward. It happened to be the best decision of his life. Giving Mason an eskimo kiss, Emerson pinched his ass playfully and grinned. “More than anything huh? Theeeennn…maybe we can move onto something more fun to unpack?! Maybeeee like our clothes?” If he was lucky, Mason wouldn’t mind his goofing off and they could play dress up.
Emerson had to be the best boyfriend ever. Mason couldn’t remember anyone else who had ever made him this happy before. It couldn’t even fully be described, but he knew he’d want to spend the rest of his life with Emerson. This was just the first step. Mason hugged him a little tighter before pulling back, a soft smile on his face. “You do a good job of it. And…I like hearing that.” He was the love of Emerson’s life, not someone else. It made him feel a little bit…proud that Emerson only showed off for him.
It still struck him, that this was going to be their home. Their home together. Mason had never expected to find someone to live with, let alone someone he’d want to spend the rest of his time with. “That’s the best part,” Mason replied, smiling softly. While it had taken some getting used to, he had decided he wouldn’t have it any other way. Emerson was perfect, no matter what anybody else said. Mason would spend the rest of his life proving it if he had to.
"It’s a miracle," he said with a grin. "You and books…who would have thought?" Mason had to laugh. When they first met, he could barely get Emerson to look at a book, let alone hold one. And now…well, the outcome was pretty much the same. But Emerson seemed to be a lot more tolerant of Mason’s reading habit, at least. He followed after Emerson, holding out his hand. "Pinky promise." He locked their fingers together, squeezing gently.
Mason jumped when he felt Emerson’s hand, letting out a squeak. Even after all this time, Emerson still never failed to make him blush whenever things got a little…handsy. It still wasn’t something he was used to, and he didn’t think he’d ever get used to it. But…maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. Surprises kept him on his toes, at least. “More than anything,” he confirmed. Mason pretended to think for a moment, tilting his head. He finally smiled and nodded. “I guess so. If you really want to that badly.”
Emerson was glad to be outside, now. Everything felt and looked better. Belfry wasn’t known for it’s glorious interior. Come to think of it, he wasn’t entirely sure what Belfry was known for. At this point, he didn’t think it had really anything to do with their medical treatment. But, he wasn’t going to judge a place he hadn’t been staying at very long. Maybe Belfry would turn around. Besides, if he made a few friends (even Mason, who wasn’t enjoying his company), he’d be able to make it through.
"Just..go?" Emerson had to admit that his heart sank at the words. Mason wanted nothing to do with him. That upset him. He wanted to be friends. He wanted Mason to like him. Brushing it off, Emerson grinned at him and brushed some curls away from his forehead. “It’s not fun if I do it by myself…I wouldn’t have brought you out here if I didn’t want to do it with someone! I’ve played by myself before and it’s not the same!” He chewed his lip and spun the frisbee around on his pointer finger. He had to think fast or he was going to lose Mason all together.
He cocked his head and smiled at Mason with his new found idea. “Heeey…if you throw it, I’ll go get it and bring it back. Seriously, I just…I have so much energy I wanna DO things!” Bending down and setting his hands on Mason’s knees, Emerson’s eyes sparkled as he made eye contact with the big brown eyes. “Please, Mason? I promise it can be fun. I don’t wanna be alone!”
Mason didn’t know what he was going to do. Emerson was relentless, almost as bad as the loud people who used to come into the library. At least back home he had somewhere to escape to. But he knew he’d have that place again once he got out of Belfry. It was only a matter of time. Mason sighed, opening his book and trying to ignore Emerson. It didn’t work. He knew he’d just have to try something else if he wanted to be alone. Maybe he could…what could he do? “Well play by yourself again. I don’t like playing.” Maybe it was the lack of socialization he had as a child. He was perfectly content sitting in the same place for hours at a time. He could entertain himself, unlike Emerson.
“They have therapy for that,” Mason said, giving Emerson a sideways glance. Honestly, the way he wouldn’t shut up was exhausting. But maybe humouring him was the best way to go. At least then he might finally tire himself out and go away. Mason shifted slightly as Emerson touched him, looking pointedly at Emerson’s hands. “Everybody’s alone in some way. Everybody dies alone.” At least that’s what he was told. Mason didn’t really believe in an afterlife, but he couldn’t deny the existence of Belfry’s ghosts. Emerson didn’t need to know that, however.
Something told him Emerson wasn’t just going to go away. Mason knew he’d have to try something else instead. “Okay,” he said, shifting his legs away from Emerson’s grip. “Fine. You want me to throw it?” He set his book aside, taking the Frisbee and looking at it for a moment before tossing it into the courtyard. Go fetch, he thought.
With a soft Moan, Emerson kisses his boyfriend back generously. “Mmm…I love when you speak French to me,” he whispered, touching his cheek. Something about how Mason’s voice got deeper, the slight accent that came through. Or maybe how his words sounded thick. Whatever it was, when he spoke French, Emerson didn’t care if he was calling him stupid, his heart fluttered anyway. “Anything for you,” he murmured against his lips and ran his fingers down Mason’s arm.
Emerson sighed heavily and reluctantly pulled away to tear down some boxes while Mason spoke. The kitchen was almost done. Biting his lip, Emerson nodded. “I doubt they expected you to bring home someone loud and energetic..” He laughed as he remembered their faces when he first met them. Emerson knew he was a polar opposite to Mason but somehow they made it work. Wonderfully, at that.
He shrugged casually and tried not to let the thought of Mason’s dad bog him down. “I..dunno. He’s a nice guy. I just…I wanna be good enough for you..for them..you know?” The last thing he wanted was Mason’s parents thinking that Mason could do better. Because Emerson knew he could but he’d never dare say that aloud. Smiling softly at Mason, Emerson thought back to when he first met Mason. Big brown eyes. Small smile. A hint of blush every time he spoke. He’d been incredibly shy, though. “I just knew you had a personality behind the book you always had to cover your face.” Emerson grinned and came back over to Mason. “You were cute. Still are. You’re a know it all, but I love that about you.” Kissing him once more, Emerson tried to forget negative thoughts about Mason’s parents. “I’ll always try to make you happy and…and I hope your family sees that. You as well.” Brushing their lips gently, Emerson let the slight touch of Mason’s lips lull him to his little corner of happiness. “You know I love you so much,” he whispered.
"Je le fais par tu," Mason murmured. He liked that he could offer Emerson something that nobody else could. It reminded him of how close they were. And if that’s what it took to keep Emerson around, Mason didn’t mind at all. He just wanted to keep his boyfriend happy. "You’re so sweet." And he was. Despite the short attention span and endless energy, Emerson had the biggest heart Mason had ever seen. Nobody could match that no matter how hard they tried. And honestly, he didn’t want them to. He could be happy with Emerson for the rest of his life.
Mason licked his lips as Emerson pulled away, moving to finish with the last of the glasses. Thankfully everything had survived the trip, save for the one broken plate. Emerson had taken care of that, though. ”Exactly. Even if I did warn them, I don’t think anyone could have expected you.” Mason chuckled, unable to keep from smiling. It was impossible to put into words how much he loved Emerson or what Emerson meant to him exactly. Mason just knew that they’d be together forever.
As Emerson spoke, Mason looked at him and tilted his head slightly. “You don’t have to try and make yourself ‘good enough’ for anyone. I love you just the way you are. And my dad doesn’t hate you. You’re just not what he expected. Not what anyone expected.” He pulled Emerson close to him once again, kissing him gently. Emerson’s words made him blush, and Mason nuzzled into his shoulder to compensate for it. “I like reading,” he said, though it was a lame excuse.
"You can always make me happy." It was true. Despite their differences, they rarely fought. The most Mason had to worry about was Emerson running into traffic when he wasn’t looking. Okay, maybe that was a lot to worry about. But he could do it happily so long as Emerson was there for him. "They like you, I promise. You get me out of the house, and…that’s what’s important." He pressed his forehead to Emerson’s, smiling softly. "I love you too. More than anything."
"Well I do! It’s probably selfish of me but honestly I didn’t really make many friends at my old high school. I don’t know what it was but they didn’t exactly like me." Shrugging, Emerson tried to ignore the memories of being embarrassed by their imitations and remarks. It’ll be different here, he told himself, they’re different like you, too. "Come on, Mason, pleaseeee?" Tugging on the other boy, Emerson dragged him through the double doors.
It was a nice day out, clear skies and some birds chirping. “Perfect place for you to relax or read or something of the sort. Or we could always climb a tree or play frisbee! Oh! Let’s play frisbee!” Emerson cackled as he practically skipped down the sidewalk, still holding onto Mason. He grinned back at Mason and stopped when they go to the bench. “You wait here, I’ll go get the frisbee from the shed!” At least they were given something to play with out here.
Sprinting off, Emerson tried his best to get the frisbee quickly. He didn’t trust Mason enough yet to know if he’d leave or not. He wasn’t risking that. Maybe he could really make a friend here. Mason seemed nice enough, despite his distant personality. He just needed to be warmed up is all. He came back quickly, panting like crazy. “Okay,” he gasped, “I found a blue one and a red one. W-which one you wanna throw?” If Mason could throw. He wouldn’t put the dang book down!
Mason glanced upwards as he walked outside, closing his eyes to enjoy the feel of the sun on his skin. He should probably get outside more. If only he could be sure that he wouldn’t be bothered on the way there. As it were, he doubted Emerson would just let him sit and read. It wasn’t fair. Why couldn’t he go find someone else to annoy? There were plenty of other people who were much friendlier than him, Mason was sure. Emerson could latch onto another people person. They could be loud and obnoxious together.
As Emerson babbled on, he pretended to listen. In reality, Mason’s mind was far away. He imagined himself back in his room, where he could avoid being around people. And he could especially avoid being around Emerson. Slowly, he settled himself down on the bench, hugging his book tighter to his chest. For some inexplicable reason, he didn’t go back inside when the other boy left to get the Frisbee. It would have been rude to leave, of course, but Mason desperately wanted to be inside and away from Emerson.
Mason stroked a finger down his book’s spine, glancing up as Emerson came sprinting back. Was he always this energetic? “Can’t you throw it? I don’t want to.” He didn’t even want to be out there, really. “You throw and then go get it. Just…go.” Maybe running around would help burn off some of that energy. Mason figured he might be able to deal with Emerson if Emerson wasn’t so hyperactive. Maybe.
"Good," Emerson muttered. He was going to have his night with Mason whether Leo showed up or not. But he’d be rather angry if Leo didn’t show up. He was definitely a different breed than Mason. It didn’t matter though. If he was going to be with Mason for the long run, then he’d have to get used to Leo, too.
Canned corn in his hand and teeth gnawing on his lip, Emerson shut his eyes when he felt Mason’s lips. Oops. Maybe he’d said the degrading part too loud. It was no secret Emerson had some confidence issues when it came to how smart he was, however he always joked about how that was why he had Mason. Glancing over, Emerson grinned and Mason and kissed his lips quickly before he walked away. “I think we should make the guest room your personal library thing. I won’t mind some books in our room. They keep you happy.” A happy Mason was the cutest Mason. So there.
One by one, Emerson unpacked the foods in the pantry. It was pretty easy. He liked doing these kinds of things. “So, have your parents made any comment on moving in with me? I feel like I’m shunned by your dad cause I had never looked at those intense books he reads. He seems like he’s talking a whole other language when he talks about them.” Collapsing the last box, Emerson padded out to the center of the kitchen. “I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter but I mean they seemed like they like me. T-they do like me…don’t they?”
When Emerson kissed him, Mason smiled. ”Ne doutez jamais combien je t’aime,” he murmured. And then louder, “Are you sure? That’s…very generous.” Mason resolved to make it up to Emerson somehow. He did have a lot of books, though. Enough to fill many rooms, and hopefully many more. The thought made him smile.
Mason looked over at Emerson as he spoke, head tilting slightly. He could only spare a glance for his boyfriend before he went back to unpacking. “They’ve said little. Mostly I think they’re…surprised.” It was the nice way of saying they never expected Mason to find anyone to be with. That ideal, while a little hurtful, wasn’t entirely off base. Mason had trouble connecting with people. Emerson was different. It had been easier to talk to him, probably because he wasted no time getting to know people.
"Don’t worry about him," Mason continued, "he just likes hearing himself talk. He’s suspicious of anyone who talks more than him." Once a professor, always a professor, or so his mom said. "But he thinks you’re a good person. They like you because I do.” Actually that sounded bad. Mason shook his head, picking up another glass. He rolled it from palm to palm, trying to find the right words. “I mean, they like you because you make me happy. Mom used to be so worried because she thought I’d be alone forever. You know I have….trouble socializing. But then you came along. You…got me out of my shell.” He blushed then, smiling shyly. It was true; with Emerson, he’d done so many things that he never would have even dreamed of otherwise.
Shrugging, Emerson grinned at Mason. He really did like the guy. Something about how he didn’t want anything to do with Emerson made him that much better. “I wanna befriend you. That’s why I came over! Sheesh, how can you not like me already? You don’t even know me!” It was true and part of him was hoping Mason would come around. New friends were important to Emerson. He didn’t have many, actually, back home.
Clearly that wasn’t an issue for Mason. How could he have so many friends and not want another? More friends was a good thing. He had to be lying. Emerson hoped they weren’t at that stage yet. “One more wont hurt then!” Laughing, Emerson continued with his dance moves and brought out the air guitar, as if he had a huge solo everything depended on. Mason’s words made him freeze, mid guitar, huge smile on his face. Straightening up, Emerson jumped. “Yes! I knew you’d come around!”
He cackled for a moment before looping his arm through Mason, guiding him towards outside. “You can take your book outside and we can hang out there! Friends hang out together. We can go outside!” Eyes sparkling, Emerson glanced over at Mason and waved to one of the passing nurses. He was going to have so much fun with Mason, he could tell already.
"I don’t need any more friends." Mason eyed Emerson warily. Friends were dangerous. People couldn’t be trusted. At least, not in Mason’s experience. He didn’t like people, and they didn’t like him. And he didn’t want to stick around to get to know Emerson. "I…I didn’t mean-" No, it was no use. Emerson wouldn’t listen. Mason froze as Emerson grabbed his arm, stumbling after him. Why did he have to agree to this? Why him?
Mason watched the nurse go, half tempted to wrench himself away from Emerson and throw himself at her. Maybe she’d be able to save him from having to actually speak to Emerson. Couldn’t she see how desperate he was? No, she simply smiled and waved at Emerson and continued on her way. Forlorn, Mason looked over his shoulder and watched her go. With her went his last hope of escaping back to his room.
Well…he could always suffer through it. What did his mother call it? A learning experience. Whenever Mason had complained about something being too difficult, or foreign, or scary, she’d simply smile at him and stroke his hair. Just think of it as a learning experience, chère. And what had he learned from this particular encounter? Mason would never leave his room again. That was the only way he could really be safe from people. Hopefully he could make some excuse to get Emerson to leave him alone. Then he’d be safe.
Wow, Mason sure was a stick in the mud. But every stick had his cooky branches. Maybe Mason just had a hidden personality in there. You know, one that didn’t want to make Emerson groan out of frustration. He loved people, could find any small thing about them he loved. He just wished they could do the same. He felt as though Mason was judging him with those cute, big brown eyes. But he wasn’t going to let it bother him. He’d dealt with that at his old school easily. Just have fun. And find thrills.
"But you can’t be allllll alone in this big building! There are other things to do! And people are fun! You can’t…not…like people! Everyone likes people!” At least…Emerson thought so. People were kind of like adrenaline to him. Each one was different, had their own way of ticking. It was fun figuring out who they were. A puzzle Emerson could actually do.
Almost frowning, Emerson shoved his hand into his pocket and bit his lip. Why was Mason almost rude to him? There had to be a reason! Emerson was harmless! “But being alone is boring! And plus…everyone needs a friend. At least one.” He wasn’t letting Mason off the hook just cause he wanted to be alone. He’d realize what having a friend was like. “I’ll even be your friend! I love friends and just…people. But in a way that’s not weird. I just like talking to people, really. So I’ll be your friend Mason!” As if he was in a musical, Emerson whipped his hands out wide and began jazz hands. “Will you be my frieeeend!?” he sang, grinning and then moving to do a overly dramatic stage dance.
“I like being alone,” Mason repeated. The quip about liking people made him feel a little sick. Not liking people had caused all the panic attacks and the eventual breakdown. Not liking people was the reason he spent all of his time in his room, with as little social interaction as possible. Minimal contact really was preferable. But this child wouldn’t listen to him. “If you like people so much, you can go find someone else to befriend.” Really, this only served to show Mason exactly how wrong it was to leave his room. “I like boring.”
It wasn’t boring to him, of course. He had his books to keep him company. Mason could spend hours with his ‘friends,’ doing whatever he pleased. It was easy to imagine getting lost in a world like the ones his books contained. That was all the entertainment, all the friendship he needed. “I have a lot of friends, too. I don’t need any more.” All his friends were fictional, of course, but Emerson didn’t need to know that. And the speech about the merits of having friends didn’t sell him on anything. Mason had heard it a thousand times from the variety of therapists he’d seen over the years. But then Emerson stopped talking and started…actually, Mason didn’t know what to call it.
What…what was he doing? Mason’s brow furrowed as he stared. Emerson was going to attract attention. Too much attention. And if Mason was near him, then he’d be associated with it! That absolutely couldn’t happen. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Stop that.” Of all the people who had to talk to him, why did the most embarrassing one have to latch on so easily? “I’ll be your friend if you never do that again.” As soon as the words left his mouth, Mason regretted ever saying them. He was tempted to run away at that point, figuring he could take his chances elsewhere. Why couldn’t he be like the ghosts and just melt into the floor?