"Maybe it’s gravity’s fault but it’s the book that hurts. I dunno, books are hard to read." Shrugging, Emerson waved off the conversation. Books never held his interest when reading and clearly they didn’t hold him in conversation either. He wanted things that were exciting. New and different things. Like Mason Fisher. Though, he didn’t exactly want much to do with him right now.
Emerson sighed and ran a hand through his hair. At least Mason was still around, honestly. It almost hurt Emerson, honestly. To still be around someone, still want to be around someone, but have them not want you. “That’s because you haven’t met the right people yet! Think about it! There’s billions of people in this world…you haven’t even met a fraction of them yet! That doesn’t fascinate you?! There’s gotta be people out there you like!”
He shook his head and scrubbed his face with his hands. Mason’s words weren’t entirely comforting but at least he was trying not to sound rude about it. “I don’t hate you. I don’t know you enough to even think about hate. I just…you seemed kinda cool from what I saw and I wanted to get to know. I don’t have much experience with friends, either, you know. I’m not easy to like,” Emerson murmured, looking down at the ground. “I mean..I try to make it easy but…I know I’m overbearing. I know I am. Hell, I see it written all over your face that I am! You’re not the first person. But I thought you’d be the first to maybe…look passed it.”
Holding out his hand, Emerson bit his lip and blushed. He wanted to have a friend here. Mason seemed as good as any. They just needed to get to know one another. “Maybe we can get friend experience together?” he asked with an odd expression on his face, something between hope and uncertainty. He was willing to try, though.
"People are terrifying,” Mason replied, glancing around. That was why he was stuck there anyway. He absentmindedly caressed the book cover, staring at a point over Emerson’s shoulder. “Why would I want to meet any more of them than I absolutely have to?” People scared him. He spoke to them when he had to— that was a necessary part of life —but he hated doing any more than he absolutely had to. People were…unpredictable. But they’d covered that already. Mason didn’t like repeating himself much.
He looked at Emerson, tilting his head slightly. So he knew how annoying he was being? That was new. Most people were obnoxiously unaware of exactly how hard it was for him to deal with them. At least Emerson knew. “Well you thought wrong.” It was impossible to see past whatever Emerson had going on. He was so in your face about everything. It was impossible to deal with. But he looked so goddamn pathetic about it that Mason felt a little bad for him. “I don’t really like anyone. All the people I did like are…not here.”
Why did he feel so guilty? This wasn’t fair. Mason didn’t like giving in to other peoples’ demands. He’d spent enough time trying to please people, and look where that had gotten him. Emerson was just trying so hard; it was strange. Nobody ever tried that hard to be his friend. But Mason didn’t want friends. He had enough friends in his books; it was hard enough to give them all the attention they deserved. But Emerson seemed really desperate. It was a little pathetic, even by his standards.
"We can try," he said finally, feeling a little sad that he’d given in so easily. He didn’t want to be around someone, but he didn’t exactly have a choice. Emerson had driven him into a corner. “But I’m not making any promises. I don’t like people.” He’d said it so many times, but he wanted to be sure Emerson knew exactly how he felt. People were his least favourite thing.
Emerson gulped back a few more comments he could make to fill the silence. He always felt a need to impress Leo. He was terrified of not being liked by Fisher family. He wasn’t just some silly guy. He could take things seriously when it came to Mason. He wanted to make their son/brother happy. He was just scared they didn’t see that. “Oh we will break the new place in I promise,” he cackled, winking at Leo. “I’ve never had to do that before but it’ll be fun.” Was he talking about his sex life to Leo about his own brother?
Coughing, Emerson looked down and kicked the ground, biting his tongue a little longer. “Aw…I’m sorry. You could’ve called! I would’ve helped bring it upstairs with you!! If you want I can make chocolate chip cookies for you! You can make the TV nice and warm and I’ll mix the batter! I’m not the greatest in the kitchen but I’ll try! I can make fruit salad too. But fruit’s a little on the healthier side…” Blushing softly, Emerson grinned sheepishly at Leo. “Or..if you don’t feel safe with any of those options, yeah, we could just take you to dinner.” He reached out slowly and rubbed Leo’s arm. Wait. Wasn’t he supposed to pat it? Switching it up, he patted instead. “W-whatever you want, big guy.”
He just wanted Leo to like him…was that so bad?
Please stop talking, Mason thought. He loved Emerson with a passion, but the guy did have a bad habit of sticking his foot in his mouth. Judging by Leo’s expression, it was worse than it usually was. “We’re still unpacking. Not all the rooms have…things in them yet.” He trailed off awkwardly, glancing at the floor. Leo barely managed to suppress a peal of laughter. “Anyway, we’re still unpacking. We’ve got things to do, you know? But we needed the bed.” God, why couldn’t he shut up either? It was embarrassing.
Mason had to be modest, didn’t he? “Yeah, yeah, genetics my ass. You’re doing something right with a body like that!” Blushing slightly, Emerson tried to lay back on the compliments. They got him nowhere with Mason and it only served to add more to the eggshells Emerson already felt he was walking on. Emerson laughed, though, when Mason tried defending books. “Hey! I beg to differ on books not hurting you! I’ve had a few fall on my head once and it is not fun. And it definitely hurts!!” Emerson had his fair share of horrible experiences in libraries and he wasn’t so sure he wanted to travel down memory lane, either. So he piped shut about the books then.
However, no matter how hard he tried to make jokes or get Mason to like him it just wasn’t clicking and Emerson felt his heart growing more and more heavy. It wasn’t fair, really, how hard it was to just find one person who would like to stick around longer than five minutes. He always scared everyone off. Crossing his arms, Emerson looked over at Mason and shook his head. “Just because you said please doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. You don’t want to get to know me either. I can’t find anyone who wants to be my friend…
"I’m not a bad one! I want to see people happy, I want to be a reason for them to be happy! I just want to have fun. I don’t even care what we do! I just try thinking of things because no one pitches in. Why we can’t we hang out? Why can’t you like me?” Sighing, Emerson’s lips turned into a deeper frown as he gazed over into Mason’s eyes. “You hardly know me, you can’t hate me already…,” he murmured. He just wanted to make a friend, wanted to do something with that friend. Mason had looked so nice, too. Usually Emerson wasn’t wrong with his assumptions. He still didn’t think he was wrong, Mason just hadn’t opened up yet.
Mason felt his ears heat up as Emerson complimented him again. It wasn’t something he was used to, hearing those nice things about himself. He didn’t think of himself as attractive either. It was a…strange feeling. This whole conversation was strange. “They don’t…” His brow furrowed for a moment. How did that even tie in? “That’s different. They can’t hurt you by themselves. It’s gravity’s fault, not the book’s.”
This was still strange. Idly he wondered if he should just try running for it. Generally speaking he didn’t run anywhere, but he supposed he could make an exception for this. Maybe that would make things easier. Then again, it would only lead Emerson to go looking for him. He didn’t want to start a game of hide and seek. He only liked the hide part. “It’s not your fault. I don’t like people. I don’t even have any social skills. Ask the doctors.” They all thought he was some kind of stupid.
“I don’t hate you,” he protested weakly. “I just…don’t like people.” It sounded bad, even to him. Emerson was a nice guy, if not a little obnoxious. Mason felt…strange for a moment. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to react to Emerson, or even process what was happening. People didn’t just approach him. People didn’t like him and in return he didn’t like people. “I don’t want you to hate me either…” He knew what people thought of him. It wasn’t a great secret. He was strange by everyone’s standards. Yet Emerson still wanted to be around him. Why? “I don’t have a lot of experience with friends.”
"Mmm….I dunno, I feel like fantasy me could get pretty freaky in bed," Emerson joked with Mason, cackling as Mason tried dropping the subject. He kissed his boyfriends temple and was a little saddened the doorbell rang. Leo was here and Emerson still felt like Mason’s family didn’t like him. No matter what he said. "I like you too, so much…" Emerson said back, kissing his boyfriend once more before he turned away to the door.
Shoving his hands into his pockets, Emerson took a step behind Mason and grinned when he saw Leo. He tried to get on his good side everytime. He hoped it wasn’t annoying. “Hi, Leo! How are you? We did order the bed actually! Saved us some money having you bring it! We really appreciate it! Do you need help or anything!? I know I don’t look like much but I swear I can help!” He came out from behind Mason and went to go help Leo with the bed. The guy was doing this for free-kind of-so he might as well give him a hand.
"How have you been? We’ve been trying to unpack but I think it’s kind of boring." Emerson probably didn’t realize it, but when he was nervous he actually talked even more than usual. There was just something about Leo that made his nerves spike. "I was thinking as a way to pay you back maybe we could cook you dinner! Or I dunno, go out to eat. I think it’d be fun! Unless you want the money and not the company then I guess we could pay you a little, too. It’s whatever you want though. I’m just glad we have a bed for the night!"
Emerson’s cheeks were flush from talking so much. He was running out of breath but he couldn’t seem to stop himself from talking. Hopefully Leo wouldn’t mind.
Mason cringed internally once Emerson started talking. When he was nervous, he never really could make himself shut up. A glance at Leo only confirmed it. He gave his brother a stern look and mouthed ‘be nice’ over Emerson’s shoulder just to make sure things kept going smoothly. After Emerson’s little confession about his worries, Mason didn’t want him to think he had confirmation of his fears. That might actually make things worse, and this was supposed to be a happy time for both of them.
He moved to help them with the bed, and they managed to drag the thing into the apartment. “The bedroom is down this hall here. We’ve already got things mostly set up.” They’d done a bit of work at least, but the bed was the biggest thing they needed. At least Leo had gotten there somewhat on time, instead of putting it off. Leo was many things, but punctual was not one of them. Fortunately he got there before nightfall, which saved him a lecture. “You’re welcome to come to dinner if you want, too.”
The rumours Emerson had been feeding him were getting out of hand. Mason couldn’t take much more talk about the new doctor. He preferred to stay away from them now that his condition was readily apparent to himself. But Emerson wouldn’t let it go, wouldn’t give the topic a rest at any moment. So finally Mason saw fit to leave his little slice of paradise and go wandering. It only took him a few wrong turns before he found the office with the open door.
As usual, he heard before he saw. But what he heard couldn’t have possibly been real. When he walked around the corner and saw, he was almost sure it was a delusion. Either it was a by-product of living with so many other disturbed people for years, or else he had finally snapped and started dreaming things up himself. Either way, he couldn’t stop the soft exhalation of a single word.
Emerson was amazed Mason found it to be pointless to do any sort of exercise. “Well then how do you keep such nice arms and small body if you don’t do any playing? I have a metabolism so I can’t ever seem to put on weight. Do you have that too!?” Maybe that’s why he felt the need not to run about. Not that books were boring or anything but…they took time. Which was too much time in Emerson’s book.
Sighing, Emerson looked over at Mason almost with a sad expression. No one quite saw the world like he did, did they? “Reality is not terrible!! There’s parts of the world you haven’t even seen yet and just because you read it in a book doesn’t mean you have any idea of what it’s like!” But he couldn’t help but feel a pull towards Mason. Sure, his personality was more into shoving people away but he was interesting and the way his eyes seemed to show more than he intended. Emerson found him fascinating.
Clearly Mason didn’t think the same. He was so adamant to keeping Emerson away. Everyone was the same! Jesus, it was so hard to get someone to like him. What was wrong with him? He accepted everyone, more or less, and they couldn’t accept him. Frowning, Emerson looked over at Mason, probably looking more sad than he had planned. “But you don’t know me. No one does. I’m trying to make friends and all I ever get is more distance. You can’t fit me into a category and you can’t assume you know me. There’s more to a person than some stupid stereotype.” Shaking his head, Emerson crossed his arms, shoulders hunching a little. “Just like I know there’s more to you than a bookworm. But what do I know then?”
Always the same damn story. Maybe he did have something to talk to his therapist to after all. Why does no one on the earth want to be my friend?
Emerson didn’t make sense to him. He was so…energetic. Wasn’t that exhausting? “I just…” Mason looked down at himself. Logically, he figured he probably shouldn’t look like he did. There was a difference between having a metabolism and exercise. Come to think of it, however, he didn’t eat much. He also didn’t exercise much, but that was beside the point. Why did Emerson even care? It wasn’t important. “It’s…genetics.” He shook his head to banish the confusing thoughts, trying to focus on something else.
God, that wasn’t much better. Emerson was looking at him like Mason had done something bad, and that made him uncomfortable. This whole conversation made him uncomfortable. It was like arguing with a brick wall. “I like books! Books are safer than the outside world. They don’t…hurt you, or leave…” This wasn’t good. Emerson was making him feel bad now. Just like all the doctors.
The look was back as well, in full force. Extra force, rather. Emerson looked like a kicked puppy, all big green eyes and floppy hair and why did he look so upset? This wasn’t fair at all. All he’d wanted was to take a walk, and now the guilt was almost overwhelming him. Being around Emerson was exhausting. As Emerson spoke, Mason shifted uncomfortably. “Please don’t be sad,” he said, hoping it sounded like an order. Merde, he was going to have to compromise, wasn’t he?
"We can…" he continued, cutting himself off when he didn’t exactly know how to finish. His stomach turned, making him feel almost…anxious. Like he used to feel. "I don’t like people being upset with me." This was an awkward position. Mason didn’t want to do anything…energetic with Emerson. But he hated the way Emerson looked now, and wanted desperately to make all the feelings go away. "I don’t know…"
"I’m glad we have this place, Mase…and I’m glad I have you. It’s nice to know I can make you as happy as you make me.." Even though they were completely different there was something refreshing and alluring about how compatible they were. Mason evened Emerson out and Emerson brought out things in Mason he didn’t know existed. It was beautiful and poetic without words ever being written. That was part of why Emerson loved him so much. Mason was his better half. In so many more ways than one.
Sighing softly, Emerson leaned forward and kissed Mason, the following his jawline with his lips down to his collarbone, murmuring along the way. “You can’t tell me we won’t make love in our new apartment, Mason…” As he smiled softly against Mason’s skin, Emerson pulled away and cupped his boyfriend’s cheek, squeezing the underwear in his hand. “Besides, I think you’d look good in lace. I think you look good in anything honestly, but we have forever to explore.”
He cocked his head slightly and ran a hand through Mason’s hair. He was surprisingly still a mystery to Emerson. “You can practically get turned on looking at a bunch of old books but you can’t seem to have a fantasy of us?” Shaking his head, Emerson rolled his eyes and laughed. “One day, Fisher. One day.”
The doorbell interrupted and Emerson heard himself sigh as he followed Mason to the door. “I’m surprised he agreed to even help us. Doesn’t he not like me either?” Leo seemed always put off by Emerson. Maybe it was something weird Emerson thought up. Oh well, he loved Mason. Despite his weird feelings about his family’s feelings towards him.
"Me too. I love having you here." Nobody could make him feel better than Emerson could. And now that they were building a life together, he was even happier. They didn’t seem compatible on the surface, but Mason knew that he couldn’t be himself with anyone else. Emerson made him feel things that he didn’t even know he could feel, and Mason knew that he helped keep Emerson grounded. They worked together, better than anyone else.
With a soft sigh, Mason tilted his head slightly. He couldn’t resist the feel of Emerson’s lips on his skin, no matter what the circumstances. “We can make love. I just…wasn’t expecting…” He couldn’t even say it! “We can…god, Emerson!” Even just the idea made him blush. They did have time to warm up to the idea. He did, at least, since Emerson seemed pretty set on getting him into some kind of…outfit.
Despite Emerson’s smile, Mason sighed. He couldn’t keep himself from nuzzling into his hand, however. “The fantasy you isn’t as good as the real you,” he murmured, pouting slightly. No matter what he tried, he couldn’t make his thoughts of Emerson measure up to the real thing. It had put an end to his attempts at fantasizing pretty quickly. Mason didn’t mind, however. Whatever need he had to…relieve himself didn’t come around often. “Just…whatever, Shmitt.” He shook his head, trying to banish the conversation.
Mason smiled as the doorbell rang, standing up and brushing his jeans off. He made his way down the hall to the door, glancing back when Emerson spoke. Though he smiled slightly, his brow furrowed for a moment. “I don’t think he likes anybody much. You shouldn’t take it personally.” Before he opened the door, Mason turned and wrapped his arm around Emerson’s waist. “Besides, I like you. A lot.” He pressed a quick kiss to Emerson’s temple before bouncing over and answering the door. “Leo! Hey.”
Emerson still gaped at Mason. It was so surprising that someone wouldn’t like sports! “I dunno, maybe for the exercise!! Or for the fun of it!? It doesn’t need to be intense or anything! Even throwing a ball or kicking one is fun!” Shaking his head, Emerson ran a hand through his hair. Mason sure was interesting. He was worth getting to know in Emerson’s book, though. “It’s not that dangerous! Plus the pond freezes over I’m sure! Were you any good?” It was so strange how Mason’s mind worked, really.
And the Books! Mason will all of his books! “I’m sure books are good, I mean don’t get me wrong. But damn, reality is good too! You gotta look up every once in a while! This place is actually kind of pretty! In a weird mental hospital sort of way!” Emerson giggled and shrugged slightly, He knew people back home like Mason, maybe not as bad, but he definitely had people similar. Of course they never wanted to be friends with him. Mason didn’t seem like he wanted Emerson around either. Somehow, that encouraged him to try harder.
Biting his lip nervously, Emerson looked back over at Mason with his big, hopeful eyes, “I don’t need to have someone who enjoys everything I do…that takes away the fun. It’s too singular. I like people who are different than me. Why is it so damn hard for people to like me back? You don’t know my ‘type’ because I don’t think I fit into any one category. I think that’s part of the reason why the therapist is perplexed by me. I want us to be friends, Mason!” Emerson shifted slightly and brought himself just a little closer to Mason. “Please, don’t be like everyone I ever knew in high school. If I whisper would that be better,” he whispered the last part loudly before giving a big goofy smile.
Mason simply shrugged, holding his ground. Of course he was right. He was always right. Why people couldn’t understand that was beyond him. “I don’t like exercise. There’s not a point to it. There’s nowhere to run here. You can’t go past the fence. Why bother with something that’s ultimately going to be pointless?” Emerson just didn’t get it. He was like everyone else that Mason had ever come across. “I was alright. I didn’t…play on a team or anything. It’s been years since I’ve gone out.” With his luck, he’d probably fall and hurt himself. That wasn’t appealing at all. Better to stay inside and stay safe.
As he heard Emerson speak, Mason’s brow furrowed. “Reality is terrible. That’s why I like books.” He didn’t have any friends in the real world. Why bother with sadness when he could be happy in a fantasy world? And with the sheer number of books he had, he’d never get bored or lonely. New ones were always finding their way into his collection. Now that he had more or less stopped going to therapy, he had all kinds of time to read.
Still…Emerson wouldn’t just leave him alone. Mason thought he knew the type. “I know what you’re like. You’re so…flighty. Always looking for the next best thing. I’m content with where I’m at. I don’t want to do activities. I like staying in. I like reading. You can’t change that!” Nobody could change him, no matter how hard they tried. As Emerson moved closer, Mason shifted back. He kept a protective grip on his book, certain that Emerson would try to steal it if he left his guard down. “I didn’t go to high school,” he responded. “So I wouldn’t know. I’m sure you can find people that did, though. They seem to be in the majority.”