Ocean Depths part 14
It was a cool ...
Ocean Depths part 14
It was a cool cloudless night and Lucas found himself alone on his couch. He had given Carlson and his son some alone time, feeling as if he was but a third wheel again. He had already been on a 'not date' with his friends, he wasn't about to have the same thing happen. The otter had been persistent with him coming along, saying it wouldn't be a problem but Lucas insisted. Whatever he was to him, Justin was his son and he didn't want to get in the way of that. The second he stepped out of the apartment he felt like shit, wishing more than anything that he took him up on his offer. He came to regret taking the day off. At least work would've kept his mind busy until tonight...
Thinking about it only made him more nervous. Maybe it would've been best to be spontaneous. Romantic. But...was that really romance? To just get lost in the moment and to fuck like animals. He groaned not wanting to use the word but it was the only thing that came to mind. Animals. He didn't want that. He wanted more...didn't he? Carlson was charming and handsome, funny and quite frankly loveable. He was a goofball. A long lithe fuzzy brown goofball. That should've been far out of his league.
Lucas smiled thinking of how he had curled up on the couch like a cat lounging in the sun after Lucas had gone back to the gaming. Curling in on himself, his nose almost touching his tail. It was ridiculous, and yet Lucas had only wanted to rub his belly afterwards. He was damn loveable and the otter knew it. Using that charm against him, the subtle way he'd wiggle his ears like a hippo coming out of the water. Or how his whiskers would twitch when Lucas would say his name, his tail going a bit rigid and his back straightening out. All of these things Lucas loved about him. His favorite thing had been making him blush. That reddish hew in his beady ears giving it away. The otter getting all nervous and anxious...
Lucas wasn't sure how he ever got such a guy to go out with him. To ask him out even. Life shouldn't be so simple...
Being alone in the apartment was bad enough with these thoughts. Being alone only reminded him of Carlson...and in due time, of the friends he had lost. The phone sat only a few feet away and he had no one to call but Carlson. No one to talk to about this, about him. About his life. About anything. All he had was that otter, and that scared him. He wanted to talk to someone about this whole thing and he couldn't very well talk to the one man he had left about it.
That otter swam around in his mind again and again. If it wasn't for him he'd probably be moving back to his hometown by now; try to mend fences or something or other. He wasn't sure. That man, that otter was an anchor in his life keeping his boat from drifting off, being lost in the sea. Lucas groaned. That had sounded so stupid. And yet still he felt as if he was drifting along unsure of where he'd end up. The only way he could put it in words was being like a boat in the sea without a sail to guide him. Just drifting along with the waves tossing him around. And Carlson was that anchor holding him in place in the deep blue.
He hated this. Just laying here. Doing nothing. He wanted to go out, do something! To hang out with the friends... he didn't have. To use the money... that he didn't have. To kill the time that he had already burned away laying on this couch doing nothing. No one to do it with. No one to spend the money, to kill the time, to hang out with. Other than that otter that still swam around in his mind. All he had was a couch under him in a dark, leaky apartment. Lucas groaned rolling off that couch and getting to his feet a bit unsteadily. The thing he hated most was being this sorry sap that he was.
It was growing late and he hadn't heard anything. He had been watching the phone all night expecting him to call. He laughed to himself about how sad that was. How alone he had become in this large city. He fiddled with the small bump in his pocket before pulling out his cellphone seeing a half dozen messages blinking on the screen. He groaned before checking them. Knowing who they were probably fom. Several messages he deleted without even listening to them, all from that damn same number he had long sense deleted from his contacts. The last one caught his attention though.
"Hey Luke, bud. Its Kev. You haven't answered any of our calls, what's up? Is this still about Mark? You got him good, I fig you were over it. After a hit like that! Ha, we tossed him into the hospital before ditching him." There was a pause before it finished. "Call me, or Joel. We'll do something or other." The voice on the other line cutting off quickly, Kev had never been good at the emotional stuff.
Lucas looked at the phone. That message flashing on the screen. Delete or not to delete that was the question. At any other time he would've just ignored it, dealt with it later. But the way he was feeling now he didn't really have much of a choice. He had to force himself to hit the speed dial. It rang several times, half expecting to get the answering machine, before a chipper voice picked up on the other end. "Hey! Thought you dropped off the face of the earth." Kevin said on the other line, a voice in the back yelled a hello, most likely Joel. The two were at work from the sounds of the bustling noise behind them.
"Nah, just been busy is all." Lucas walked around the apartment glad to hear that familiar voice, though the pit in his stomach hadn't gone away.
"Yeah...it's good to hear from you again. After what happened and all." Another voice in the back yelled something along the lines of love and you but he wasn't sure if Joel was drunk, smoking something or on some kind of medication.
"Sorry about that." Lucas didn't mean it but it might be the only thing he could say to keep those bridges from burning down all together. He had wanted this? Didn't he? To be able to talk to his friends again?
"Mark deserved it." Kevin sad flatly. "Dude hasn't shut up about it sense. Was getting a pain in the ass," Joel voice yelled something along the lines of 'not the good kind of pain either' before Kevin continued. "So...I dusted my hands of it all and left." The line went quiet before he continued again. "I knew you before him anyways. We were in the same class for fuck sake. Why would I pick him over you?"
"Cause your jealous of me?" Lucas joked, the tension in his shoulder slowly beginning to fade as he talked with his friend. The two had met during one of the side classes required for his degree. A math class. He sat behind him the first day, the next day next to him, and for the rest of the term they had become friends. Kevin was all too happy to find a study buddy.
"Jealous of what? You got nothing on this." Kevin had been friends with Joel for years before, neighbors or something Lucas couldn't recall. Mark had come along weeks later, a frequent costumer to Joel's place. "One sec," Kevin said holding the phone to the side "...double frappe chino, no foam. Anything else, sir? Have a good day." He came back. "So how are you and furbutt doing? You still... doing that, right?"
"Yes, I'm stilling 'doing' that." Lucas rolled his eyes shaking his head. "His names Carlson."
"What was he?" Kevin asked brewing up some more coffee.
"Kinky, I bet you can have loads of fun with that big ol' tail of theirs." Kevin joked, at least what Lucas hope was a joke.
"I don't even know how to respond to that." Lucas groaned leaning against one of the walls, he didn't even want to think how that'd work. But the idea kept popping back into his mind. What the hell would he do with that tail?
"Don't tell me you haven't thought about it."
"And you have?" Lucas laughed.
"I plead the fifth." Kevin said solemnly. If he touched a bible it'd probably burn.
There was a familiar wrapping of knuckles on the front door that made Lucas's heart skip a beat.
"Anyways I'm working late so I'll hear from you later, ok?" Kevin said taking another order.
"Looks like I got to get going too. I'll talk with you later then?" Lucas didn't like how he came off so needy. Thankfully Kevin seemed to have missed it, caught up with something else on the other line.
"Of course. Call me whenever or text, texting's easier. Talk with you later, ciao." Joel's could be heard on the other side, yelling something along the lines of love and you again before the manager yelled at him for being so loud.
"See ya," Lucas snapped the phone shut feeling better as he opened the door for the otter.
Carlson had a silly smile across his muzzle, paws behind his back. The otter rocked back on his feet using his tail as a makeshift kickstand before leaning forward. He was no kangaroo but he mimicked one rather well. That adorable face beaming at him with a mischievous grin.
"Charmed, I'm sure." Lucas looked at the otter a bit skeptical. "What's up?" The otter just continued to smile.
"I got a surprise for you," he grinned bumping noses. He was clothed a bit nicer than he had ever seen him. It was the first time Lucas ever saw him with a coat on. He half expected to see the otter naked when he opened that door and the second he opened that door he'd pounce of him.
"What kind of surprise?" Lucas returned the smile at the devious otter.
Carlson nudged to his apartment. "I can't ruin the surprise. You'll just have to see for yourself." His husky voice practically sung still with that sly undertone to it.
Lucas took a few seconds. Looking him up and down to make sure this wasn't an elaborate trap before following the otter inside. Whatever it was behind his back he kept hidden. The apartment was as dark as his had been the lights all but off except the ones down the hall into the den. There was a crunch under his feet, looking down he could see red petals covering the floor, a makeshift trial leading into the back.
"What is all this." Lucas asked before being nudged forward.
"Follow and see." Carlson said unable to hide his excitement.
The flower petal path lead back into the living room. The couch and tabletops were pushed to the far corners of the room, stacked rather crudely out of the way. Most the area had been picked clean. The various miscellaneous objects tucked away into various cabinets. It was obvious that the place had been recently cleaned and vacuumed, the vacuum still in the room hastily pushed into one of the corners. What caught his eye was the table in the middle of the room, though. A red velvet table cloth had been tossed over it, two chairs set up. Candles were placed in neat little candle holders. Rose petals circled around the table several times covering most the floor. The rest had been dumped into a trashcan, spilling over onto the floor.
"Carlson, this is a bit much I think." Lucas smiled looking around. A cooler filled with ice sat next to the table, a champagne bottle sticking out. Flowers had been crammed into a vase and put in the center of the table between the candles.
"You don't even know what today is, do you?" The otter guided him to his seat, pulling the chair back for him with one paw.
Lucas took a seat looking at him. "It's Tuesday."
"Exactly." The otter said taking a seat across from him, a paw still behind his back.
"I don't get it."
Carlson smiled taking his paw behind his back and handed it to him. A red and pink heart shaped box, wrapped in a neat bow.
"Chocolates?" Lucas took the box looking at it a bit skeptical.
"Happy Valentines day." Carlson scratched the back of his neck.
Lucas blinked several times looking at the heart box. It couldn't be V-day already. Christmas had been...a while ago. He didn't even remember New Years. Then again both holidays he had spent alone. Working late, just to make sure he could pay that months' rent. He had gone out for a few drinks with Tim unable to fit into the crowd though, standing out like a sore thumb in the crowd of fur, scales and feathers. So he had retreated back to the office to finish some paperwork.
"I thought it'd be nice." Carlson smiled. "I hope you like it; it isn't a problem is it?" He said a bit sheepishly. "Too soon, maybe? I just wanted to do something for this corporate sponsored holiday." He laughed a bit hesitantly, scratching his chest as he took off his jacket.
"No, it's just. Wow." Lucas blushed looking at the box of chocolates. "I just really wasn't expecting this. I had completely forgotten."
"I know what you mean." Carlson smiled scrunching up his eyebrows. "I think the chocolates were too much. Maybe I'll do that next time." The otter thought as he pushed the table back getting up.
There were several holidays that coincided between the different species but it was a well-known fact that several of the major holidays most furs didn't celebrate. Valentine's Day being one of them. "I like to celebrate every day as if it were Valentine's day," Carlson said stretching, rolling his shoulders. He was so casual. As always. As if this truly was any other day. "I rather not have one day a year to spoil my date. But looking around... The flowers, the champagne and candles... Maybe I did over do it." He laughed as nervously as before.
"I made dinner. Got champagne, have the candles and flowers. Table for two, Justin's crashing at a friend's house and well...is there anything else?" Carlson slumped down looking at him a bit defeated as if he had forgotten the most important part.
Lucas looked around at the decorations and candles before turning back to him. "I think it's perfect." The otter beamed above him, pleased with himself that he had gotten it right for his first try.
"Dinner!" He clapped his paws together quickly hustling into the kitchen.
"I'll help, it's the least I can do." Lucas said following the otter, feel guilty for forgetting a holiday that should've been something he had done for him.
Pots were boiling and the oven was on as he scooted next to the otter in the kitchen. The small kitchen made it impossible for them not to bump into each other as they got plates and silverware out, strained the spaghetti and pulled the baked codfish out from the oven. The two bumped against each other again as the Lucas leaned over to get it.
"I can handle this." The otter said taking the pan from him and setting it on the oven top. "Really. You can go sit back down, I'll handle it. I'll do it. Lucas! For fuck's sake sit down," Carlson groaned hiding his face in his paws as Lucas did all the work, basting the codfish in a fine vine garret before scooping portions of noodles for the two, giving the otter a bit more.
"I hate spaghetti sauce," Lucas said off handedly looking at the burnt red goo bubbling in the pot. "Do you have any... ah good you do!" He had opened the fridge taking out some Italian dressing and shredded parmesan cheese. "You don't mind do you?" He asked a bit embarrassed looking up at the otter who shrugged in reply. Maybe he felt a little too comfortable around him already digging through his fridge and all.
"My cheese is your cheese." Carlson shrugged his broad shoulders looking at him with a look of defeat again giving up on trying to stop the man next to him.
"Not exactly what a guy likes to hear." Lucas rolled his eyes preparing his dish.
"I didn't know..." Carlson folded his ears down looking at the dinner he had made. He had been sure he'd like this. Every person and fur alike loved spaghetti. How could he know the sauce would be bad... and burnt, goo-ing and sticking to the pan as it boiled into a crispy pudding like substance.
"How could you know?" Lucas said standing on his tip toes to grab two wine glasses off the top cabinet. "I never said I liked or disliked it." The look across the otter face made Lucas continue. "It's perfect. Really. Thank you, Carl. I love it. The dinner, the flowers, the sham-pag-in," he slurred with a silly grin making the otter smile. "And because it's with you."
The otter's ears twitched at the words, he shifted his weight a bit before waving it off blushing rather brightly. He quickly scooped up his plate before heading back to the table, Lucas in tow.
"Do you really love it?" Carlson asked taking his seat.
Lucas set down his plate, the glasses and opened the Champagne pouring glasses for each other. "I do. I wish I had gotten you something though. I can't believe I forgot."
Carlson waved it off, waiting for him to take his seat before picking up his glass. "Cheers," he offered as the glasses clanked together. He downed half of it before continuing. "Don't worry about it. I think the holidays a bunch of rubbish anyways." He blushed realizing what he said before trying to patch up his mistake. "Not that your rubbish or anything! Or that you're not worth the trouble! I-it's just I mean I don't like how it's only once a year is all. I rather treat you like this all the time, I mean I want to spoil you rotten. But not like that! Shit." He groaned cupping his face again.
"Carl, relax. You're doing fine. Just be yourself." Lucas said as he took a bite of his meal.
"It's supposed to be romantic... I should've done wine, not some champagne. Chocolates were too soon." He mumbled rubbing his temples. "I should've followed the rules."
"What are you talking about?" Lucas asked looking at the agitated otter. His fur had scrunched up in several places and he was hiding most his face under his paws.
Carlson looked at him with big puppy dog eyes between webbed fingers, those sapphire blues only seemingly making him look more loveable. "I...kind of bought a book. You see," he scratched his chest as he got up rummaging in one of the shelves before pulling out a rather tacky looking book. "To help make it better."
"Make what better?" Lucas asked taking a sip from his glass.
"This." Carlson gestured to the whole thing before showing him the book.
The book was red and pink; hearts adorned the cover, sides and back. The letters across the cover read in bold black print "20 ways to make your Valentine's Day special." The otter groaned loudly tossing the book aside and slumping back down in his seat.
Lucas laughed as he bent over to pick it up reading the cover again. He flipped through a few pages. "This is ridiculous. Step five, make sure to greet your date like a true gentleman with a top hat and cane." Lucas turned the book towards him. "This looks like it was made in the 50s!" Showing him the picture of the photo of the man in a cane and top hat trying to seduce some girl in a white dress.
"That's what Justin said!" Carlson tossed up his paws. "B-but I didn't have a damn clue about Valentine's day until today, when he mentioned it to me. I nearly tossed him out the door in order to have the time to get this all ready." He whined. "I had to buy that book just to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do."
Lucas tossed the book aside before turning back to the otter. "Carl, you're doing fine. You didn't even have to do anything and you went through all this trouble to. That means more to me than some random holiday and the 'traditional' way to do things. Do we actually look like a traditional couple?"
"I did try really hard," he smiled slyly looking at him. "You can be the girl in the dress, I'll be the gentleman in the suit," he grinned.
"And that's all a man can ask for." Lucas laughed, pushing him playfully under the table. The otter returned the push, managing to grab his foot with both paws and massage it with his toes, having slipped out of his sandals.
"Thanks. It was really last minute but I did the best I could with the supplies I had." He smiled across at him.
Lucas rubbed his other foot against his leg. "Carl, you did amazing. I honestly didn't expect this; this is better than anything I could've asked for. Really." He said again a bit more earnest, giving the foot up to the paws massaging it.
"Good." Carlson growled looking across at him with half closed eyes. His webbed toes sliding between his as the other foot rubbed against the top of his. The otter guiding his paw up his leg and brushing along his side.
"Frisky as always I see."
Carlson paws continued to play.
"This isn't...just a physical thing is it?" Lucas had to ask. That doubt had always been there. He wished he had been a bit more tactful how he asked though. But he hated sugarcoating things.
"Of course," Carlson said bluntly. One paw pulling away from him, the other toes still being entwined with his.
Lucas wasn't sure what to say, a rather large pit forming in his stomach.
"Every relationship tends to start that way, whether someone admits it or not." Carlson continued picking at the food in front of him not meeting his eyes. "I saw you and knew I wanted to fuck you. Bend you over a tabletop, kitchen counter, couch or whatever was available." That pit growing ever larger. "But if I had just wanted that, I would've gotten it already." Carlson said rather sternly, his voice going a bit deeper than normal a growl escaping his lips as his lips twitched, still not meeting his eyes.
"It's just," Lucas blushed ashamed that he had asked.
"The first night we were together. You were drunk and naked in my bed. I could have easily gotten what I wanted. Takes more than a couple of beers to get me wasted. But I didn't. In the shower we shared, I could have done it easily enough." Carlson tone lightened as he continued still picking at his food. "I could have just tossed you up on a dryer when we were in the laundry room ripped off your pants and gone to town. But I didn't. I didn't want that." He mumbled staring down at his plate. "I wanted something. Someone. Like you. I'm a man I have needs and wants...but I'm not an animal." He looked up at him, tears in his eyes. "I'm not just instinct l-like the news makes us out to be. I wanted...more than that, I always have. With someone like you... with you." He laid a paw on his hand, wiggling his toes and rubbing his finger against his hand. "I'm a single father, but I still want love."
"I didn't mean to say you didn't. I just wasn't sure where this was going and it's just. It wouldn't have been the first time." Lucas said ashamed. "I had to ask. Because...you mean more to me than just some fling. I don't want to be hurt. I don't want to lose my friend."
"We don't have to do it." Carlson leaned forward looking at him with those sapphire blues. "Whenever you feel comfortable with being with me, you can tell me. Until then we don't have to do it. It feels like we've known each other... been with each other a lot longer than it has. It's only been days since we've really met, and it's just. I rush things." He looked back down at the table. "This was a stupid idea, I shouldn't have done it. I'm moving too fast. I should've bought you chocolates and flowers and called it good."
"Carl," Lucas moved the flowers out of the way, before putting his hand on the paw on his. "I trust you. You're a good friend. I just needed to know that this was more than some Human thing or fling. I like to think that everyone is truly trying to find that someone special. I just...don't want to burn the fuse out."
The otter looked up at him a bit confused.
"We started off so fast. I mean," Lucas blushed unable to meet his gaze. "I have a lot of friends that fuck on the first date. Sleep with a guy before they even start dating. I don't want that. But we kind of did...that." Lucas laughed uncomfortable. "I've never had otter before." He flushed thinking of their first night, his face in the otter's groin.
Carlson looked at him for a second as the gears turned before his eyes went wide and he laughed. "Sorry. Furs can be a bit lustful. Apparently humes can be too." He grinned. "I think I understand what you mean. Ok, ok. Let me clarify." The otter pulled back rolling his shoulders and taking a steady breath before letting it out. He leaned forward, taking his hand in both his paws looking at him.
"Lucas, I want to date you. And if things turn out right, for both of us, have things move forward for the better. I don't want to be fuck buddies, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be ok with that. I have a slight thing for humans, but I like you more than any other human or fur I've met before. If you're comfortable," Carlson pushed his hind paw roughly against his foot. "I would love to be your boyfriend. To be your man. To date, to get to know you. What you like, dislike." He nodded towards the spaghetti sauce. "I don't want this to be just physical. I want it. To be that way with you. But I want to be with you more. I won't do anything without your permission but..." He rubbed his finger against his hand; he took his hand and kissed the top of it. "When you're ready, whenever that'll be. And until then I'll always be here." He put on a brave face but his eyes still sparkled with tears.
Lucas took his hand back and pushed away from the table heading for the hall, Carlson ears falling against is head anguish washing over his face. "You coming or not?" Lucas asked over his shoulder to the otter, his ears bolting upright and his tail going rigid.