I was already late by the time I got to my place to shower and change. Not the posh apartment where I’d gotten ready so of course had left my personal phone, fuck it! But this was closer to Nox’s place and, nothing in that posh apartment was going to be anything Nox was interested in anyway. He definitely wasn’t a money angle. But he was playing some thing I just hadn’t figured it out. He’s too charming and too broken not to be.
I knew I had to take a shower and change clothes. The last time I smelled like someone else in a dream he was highly unhappy. I couldn’t smell anything different but he could. I’d never seen him jealous before, it had been eye opening and I probably should have seen something wrong then, but we were kids and we were blind to a lot of things.
I hastily pulled on a pair of ripped jeans and a faded t-shirt. I don’t remember if it even said anything fun that Nox would appreciate. I was late. Way too fucking late for my own sanity I couldn’t imagine what anxiety attack looked like when I’d been keeping him almost an hour. I was grateful my place wasn’t far from his home – only a few blocks away.
I walked as quickly as the crowd would let me. I was used to tuning out the drone of everyday life. It was one of the first things I had learned how to do as a kid. And with Kish’s help I had quickly mastered everything else that came with being a telepath as well as a dream walker. But the closer I walked to the Apex Unlimited building the louder it got.
It was like a wailing siren at first off in the distance. Gnashing teeth of something fighting its way through the din of all the voices I heard. And then I realized what it was. The chaos and the turmoil that was pretty boy’s mind was loud. His anxiety was switch on to high and while I knew it was him. I couldn’t make out even the simplest of phrases.
I swore at myself, I should have gone to get my phone.
The closer I got the louder it grew, the more chaotic it was. I saw him and one thought burrowed through all the rest. Is my watch broken? I pushed back. It’s not broken. And as soon as he was in front of him I squatted down next to him and asked softly, “How long have you been out here?”
He didn’t open his eyes as he choked out the words. “I didn’t know how long to wait?” He was having a hard time breathing.
I spoke quickly, “I’m sorry, I’m late. I got tied up with a client, and I forgot my phone.” I lied even as I smirked inside at the comment. I hadn’t meant to play to the truth, but there it was. A gust of wind barreled down the street sending an empty coffee cup that had been sitting at his feet careening down the street, a few dollars fell out and landed in the grating for the sewer below.
Nox started to say something but stopped short. “I thought I asked…” I tried to pluck it from his head but the thought was lost in the crazy so I had to ask.
“You thought what Nox?”
“Can’t you read my thoughts?” He sighed and opened his eyes and looked at me with annoyance “Are we going?”
“Do you still want to?” Hell he looked like shit.
“I…” he said as he tried to stand. He toppled over into my arms and I helped him to his feet. He looked like he was struggling and his thoughts were becoming clear and the moment I thought I had him, that thought disappeared in an instant. The chaos flowed around where it had been and I knew he was hiding something as he clung to me.
“You know I can hear your thoughts right?” He was hiding it but even with the reminder the thought never resurfaced.
“I know.” Nox nodded and a bit of his blue dyed hair fell in front of his face and he absently pushed it out.
“Are you hiding something from me?” I asked with my arm still around him keeping him steady. My touch seemed to help and I needed him to calm down. I couldn’t read him when he was like this.
“Maybe. A guy’s gotta have a few secrets.” He grinned at me and I felt that little bit better about him. He’d be alright.
“Is it major secret?” I returned with the playful banter.
He pressed a kiss to my cheek and smiled. “Just my feelings for you.”
“And you don’t want me to know?” He was hiding his feelings? He was probably hiding more than that – his plans and his reasons for being so nice. For all I knew this was all just his act.
He shook his head. “You’ll walk out like you did last night so no I don’t want you to know.”
“I…” I started to protest but he laid a single finger against my lips. The touch was electric and soothing and he was so gentle.
His smile, my smile, lit his face, “No. I’m okay. For once, I can say that. But I need you to not feel bad about anything that happens. Let’s go play laser tag, pretend I didn’t have a panic attack. Pretend yesterday’s attacks didn’t happen. Just know that I don’t have control over my reactions sometimes.”
I sighed at the reminder, “You are high maintenance aren’t you.”
Nox nodded in agreement, “Yeah. I don’t think that even begins to cover it.”
“So, you sure you want to do this?” I asked to make sure.
“I’m sure. I didn’t get all dolled up for nothing.” And there was the accompanying grin that made the comment all that more pointed.
“All of this for me?” I smirked and leaned back. I looked at him, actually looked at him. His jeans and t-shirt under the button up shirt was all the same as usual. But the hair was different than yesterday. “I like the hair, the color suits you. We don’t have…” I started to say but Nox interrupted me with his lips against mine. His were soft and he tasted slightly salty and I wondered if he’d been crying. I couldn’t breathe and Nox apparently couldn’t stand as he stumbled against me. “Easy pretty boy.” I said. The warmth of his body against mine was exhilarating.
Nox made a suggestion that I was very tempted to take him up on “We could go upstairs.” But he was still anxious. I needed him to calm down, get his mind off of things.
“Let’s go play some games and we’ll see where it goes?” I said. Hoping he’d be alright with it.
“I’m good with that too.” I pulled away from him and took his hand in mine, his fingers were cold and he clung to me as we walked.