Be My Eyes - Part III
time around the wait was almost unbearable. Mostly because Shiro
didn’t want to admit to himself that he was waiting at all. But
their second conversation had given him even more hope and the things
he’d gotten to know about Lance, that he was great with children,
was dedicated and hard-working and compassionate, made Shiro’s
useless crush even worse.
A few times he toyed with the idea to go out and find someone to hook up with just to get that pretty smile out of his head. But he’d never liked one-night-stands and besides, after the accident it had gotten much harder to pick someone up. Most people out for a quick fuck were deterred by the prosthetic.
Not that Shiro cared too much. It had taken him years to pull himself together and get back on his feet, switch professions, become at peace with himself again. There hadn’t been much place for a relationship during that time, as focused on himself as he was, as he had to be.
He’d always be grateful for the role Allura had played in his recovery and always regret that he hadn’t been able to offer her anything but his friendship in return. It was too late for them now, she’d found love with someone else and he was happy for them, no matter the bittersweet could-have-beens floating through his mind sometimes.
But now that he was recovered and had reclaimed his life, found a job he enjoyed and friends he liked spending time with, it felt like he was ready for love as well.
If only his best shot at it wasn’t an elusive, beautiful man he had no chance of contacting on his own.
It was late evening when his phone rang and Shiro dried his hand on a kitchen towel before tapping the notification.
The last few calls had left him numb, the hope he’d only just found fading more and more every time it wasn’t Lance’s face smiling at him from his screen and even though Shiro felt his heartbeat pick up yet again he tried to shoo away the tiny flame of hope before it was snuffed out by reality.
Instead of a wide smile the screen turned black and for a moment Shiro wondered if his phone had died. But then he heard soft breathing before a familiar voice spoke up.
“Hey, I’m Lance. Thanks for…”
“Hey”, Shiro breathed back, having to lean against the counter to support his suddenly weakened legs. What were the chances? “Nice to talk to you again.”
There was a soft gasp and a rustling sound of fabric, maybe clothes or bedsheets and then Lance laughed, a sound that made Shiro’s heart clench with sweet longing.
“Shiro! Oh wow, I was wondering if I’d uh … meet you again.”
Shiro bit his lip against a happy noise. Lance had thought about him, about talking to him again. But there was something he was wondering about.
“Is your camera broken? I can’t see anything…”
“Oh, yeah!” Lance let out another laugh. “That’s why I called, I couldn’t remember if I turned off the light after my sister left and … I was too lazy to get back up and check the switch so … guess I know now, huh?”
So he was in bed already and just didn’t want to get up again. The thought made Shiro smile, even though his stomach clenched nervously when he realized they’d hang up again very soon. He wouldn’t be able to stand another month or two of waiting for the next call, he had to do something, say something but before he could even open his mouth Lance was speaking again.
“But honestly, how weird is it that I talked to you three times now? That never happened to me before! You might as well just give your number at this point!” The words were accompanied by another carefree laugh, Lance was obviously joking. But it was also the perfect pass and Shiro would hate himself if he didn’t at least try. It helped that he had literally nothing to lose.
“Would that be … very weird? If I … gave you my number?” As soon as Shiro had said it he crumbled, hiding his face behind his hand. He’d been so smooth once. Years ago. Obviously that was not like riding a bike.
“What?”, came Lance small, wondrous reply and he sounded so cute Shiro almost whimpered. Well, he’d started this, now he had to finish it.
“You, uhm … you just seem like a … really great and, and interesting person. To be honest I … I was hoping we could talk again and I’d uh, I’d love to get to know you better. If you want.”
There was a stretch of silence that seemed to last forever, broken only by Lance’s breathing and the occasional rustling sound of the sheets.
“Get to know me in like … a gay way?” Lance finally asked and there was a hint of humour in his voice that Shiro just couldn’t place. He knew there was a big chance Lance wasn’t even interested in men and that he might just have made a huge fool of himself. But it had still been worth a shot. Was still worth a shot.
“If that’s”, he began, licking his dry lips. “If that’s what you want…”
Another stretch of silence, this one so long and unbearable Shiro let himself sink down along the counter and onto the floor, pulling both knees to his chest. Not like riding a bike at all. He felt and acted like a fumbling teenager all over again. Maybe that’s what years of only partly voluntary abstinence did to a person.
Finally Lance talked again and when he did it was with a cheeky, flirty tone that made Shiro even more jittery.
“Shiro, can I tell you something?”
He didn’t have the energy for more than a weak “Hm?” but it was enough.
“I’ve been using this app five times as much as I usually do ever since I talked to you for the first time. Every time I was hoping they’d connect me to you again. So can you please just give me your number?”
Shiro didn’t compute for a long moment. He just sat there on his kitchen floor, face in his hand, breathing. Then a laugh bubbled up from his chest and he just let it spill over, laughing freely until Lance joined him, the melodious sound of his laughter music to Shiro’s ear.
He grinned all the way through giving Lance his number.
“Alright”, Lance smiled after he’d finished. “I’ll call you back in a minute, yeah? Then you can tell me all about how you’re not a 50-something year old pervert so my sister can sleep again at night.”
Did … did that mean Lance had talked to his sister about Shiro? That was … adorable.
“Sure, I’ll be waiting.”
And wait Shiro did after they hung up, seconds ticking into minutes until his anxiety flared up again and he scrambled to his feet, starting to pace through the kitchen. Had he given Lance the right number? Why hadn’t he asked for a number in turn? What if Lance was just trying to get rid of him and didn’t even intend to call? What if Shiro had creeped him out and he’d uninstall the app and they’d never speak again?
By the time his ringtone echoed through the kitchen Shiro had all but convinced himself Lance hated him. So he answered the call from an unknown number with shaking fingers.
“Hey, I’m Lance”, came the casual drawl that made Shiro melt from the inside out, knees getting weak again. “Thanks for picking up. I’ll only need you for … hm, the rest of the night?”
Shiro grinned, bit his lip, nodded slowly as that crushing weight of his doubts was lifted from his shoulders.