momentary lapse of reason
Sliding his key card through the narrow slit in the huge metal lock, Heero opened the door to his hotel room and reached in to turn on the light before entering. Setting his bags down just inside the doorway, he looked around the large space. It was an enormous room, tastefully decorated and offered more than the standard amenities, but it wasn't where he had intended on spending the night.
Making his way to the far side the room, Heero opened the drapes and seated himself in front of the huge window. It was rush hour and the streets below the 4rd floor of the huge hotel were still noisy with traffic. He smiled at the view, oddly enough having missed the clamor of New York City during his absence.
Taking the menu from the center of the table beside him, Heero looked it over briefly. While he wasn't hungry at the moment, the hotel offered room service for only another hour and certain he would regain his appetite eventually, he dialed the three digit extension and ordered himself something to eat. Slipping his shoes off, he reclined back into the chair and awaited his supper; the events of the last few hours naturally replaying themselves.
Things had gone terribly wrong back at the house and Heero was at a partial loss to understand why. Despite the fact that Duo was more than enthusiastic to see him, he had expected there to more negative discussion between them given what had happened. Taking into account that the two had a lot more ground yet to cover, Heero was still unable to foresee any major disagreements between him and Duo. His confrontation with Quatre was not something he anticipated; nor was Duo's outburst of anger at their Arabian friend.
As much as he wanted to contact Duo and begin to straighten things out, Heero felt it would be best to wait, allowing the four time to discuss what had occurred since he had arrived. He hoped that Duo was able to explain what had transpired between them; certain that if they had more of an understanding it would lessen the hostility felt earlier.
Rising to answer a loud knock on his door, Heero accepted his dinner and returned to sit at the table. His thoughts now headed in a positive direction, Heero lifted the styrofoam cover off of his meal and sat it on the table, his mood turning sullen as he began eating; once again alone.
// so close and yet so far //
Deciding to call Duo after he finished his dinner, Heero hurried through his meal. Rather than risk using the telephone and possibly getting Quatre on the line, he chose to contact Duo via his computer. He had no idea of how things were going and would not take the chance that his call could make things worse than they already were for Duo at home.
Booting his laptop, Heero opened the program that connected the two and typed.
 you there?
Heero waited patiently for a reply, realizing that Duo was not expecting him to make contact in this fashion.
Finishing his chores in silence, Duo left the kitchen and went back up to his room, immediately responding to Heero's message.
 i am now
Heero smiled and moved forward to type.
 is everything okay there?
Duo shook his head.
 maybe i shouldn't have come to the house, duo
 it's my house too dammit. i don't want to talk about it
 i'm sorry
 it's not your fault, heero.
Heero sighed deeply.
 where are you staying?
 holiday inn at laguardia. why?
 meet me out front in 30 minutes... bring a jacket.
Swiftly changing into a pair of black leather pants and a burgundy t-shirt, he stepped into his boots and sat to lace and tie them. Tugging his pants legs downward as he stood, Duo made his way across the room to stand in front of the full length mirror.
Up until now, he hadn't been certain that he would ever ride again. Fortunately, he had not ruled out the possibility entirely and had arranged to have the necessary repairs made to his Harley while he was recuperating. The bike had received much less damage than he had in the accident, the thought of it still sending a chill though him. One year of healing and his irrepressible emotions for a certain dark haired young man found him ready to tackle his fears.
Grabbing his leather jacket from its hangar, Duo slipped into it and reached up to take the two helmets from the top shelf, pausing as he looked at the huge cardboard box beside it. "I'm so glad it's not forever." he spoke aloud, tapping the box lightly with his fingertips. Taking one last look at himself in the mirror, he smiled approvingly at the vision of his leather-clad reflection and shut the closet door.
Making his way downstairs and into the kitchen, Duo entered the garage in silence, uttering not a word to the three young men who watched his every move from their places around the huge wooden table.
The 15 minute ride was fairly relaxing as much of the journey saw him traveling on small side streets. A block before he reached the hotel, Duo's gaze fell on the lone figure standing on the sidewalk in front of the huge building. His smile was nearly a mile wide by the time he brought his bike to a stop. Turning the engine off, Duo lowered the kickstand and rested his one foot on the edge of the sidewalk. Lifting his helmet off with two gloved hands, Duo shook his head to allow his hair to fall back into place and turned to face Heero. "Hey, stranger.. going my way?"
Heero chuckled softly as shook his head from side to side before letting his eyes wander slowly over Duo's body; every inch of his lithe frame encased in tight black leather.
"I'll take that as a yes." he grinned as Heero's eyes finally made their way back upward to look him in the eyes. Reaching behind him, he slipped the extra helmet from under it's tight elastic strap and handed it to Heero. "Hop on."
Heero took the offered head gear, pausing slightly before he put it on.
"Something wrong, Heero?"
"Just thinking about the last time you rode." he replied softly. Heero shuddered slightly as his mind produced a picture of Duo lying in the hospital bed that morning.
"I was a little nervous myself taking her out tonight. This is my first time back on the bike since then." he admitted. "Don't worry, Heero. I'll take it slow." he smiled.
Heero nodded and put the helmet on, strapping it securely under his chin, while Duo did the same.
"Did you eat dinner yet?"
"Me too. Dessert?"
"Good." Duo replied. "I know of a great new place."
Turning the engine over, Duo brought the bike upright and released the kickstand. Climbing onto the back of the bike, Heero gripped the edge of the seat with both hands. Reaching behind him, Duo took Heero's hands in his and wrapped them tightly around his waist. "Gotta hold on." he smiled, pulling away from the curb.
The ride into Manhattan was a pleasurable one. Heero had not realized how much he truly missed the city, enjoying every moment of the 30 minute ride. With his body pressed firmly against Duo's and his arms gently surrounding him, Heero almost wished it would never end.
"This place is great." Duo remarked as he removed his helmet. Dismounting the bike, he took Heero's helmet from him and secured the two, pocketing his keys.
Still seated, Heero looked up at the small white sign above the anonymous storefront. "Miss Grimble's?"  he asked as he stepped onto the sidewalk.
Duo nodded. "Yup. It's unassuming, but they make the best chocolate orange torte I've ever had." he replied. "Of course, it's the *only* chocolate orange torte I've ever had." he winked.
There was no further discussion amongst the two about the situation at home, Duo's health or what had transpired last year, Duo instead focusing on Heero's job in California and what he had been up to the past year. The day had been filled with much heavy, emotional conversation and the two more than welcomed the light-hearted friendly chat.
Looking down at his watch, Duo noted the late hour. "I guess we should be getting back."
Heero nodded and rose. While he didn't really want the night to end, it was clear that both he and Duo were fairly exhausted and hopefully there would be tomorrow.
Slowing as they approached the Holiday Inn, Heero relaxed his hold on Duo and sat back a bit. Unclasping his arms from around Duo's waist as they came to a complete stop, Heero removed his helmet and got off the bike, stepping up onto the sidewalk. "I had a great time tonight, Duo."
"Me too." Duo smiled, "It's been a while since I've been out."
"I'll be here for another few days. Are we going to have a chance to see each other again?"
Duo's eyes widened as he looked up at Heero.
"Did I say something wrong?"
"Yeah.....ya did, Heero." Duo replied. "Do you think that I'm not going to see you just because *they* don't want me to?"
Heero cringed at the venom Duo's voice held as he referred to their friends. "I don't want to stir up any more trouble than I already have for you, Duo." he replied looking sorrowfully up at Duo.
"If they force me to make a choice, Heero, I don't even need to think twice about it." he returned quite seriously. "How big did you say that apartment of yours in California was?" he asked jokingly before winking.
Heero smiled as the tension was lifted, returning the evening to it's formerly pleasant state.
"I'll pick you up at 8:00 tomorrow morning. We can stay at the house till 4:30. We'll play it by ear after that. Sound okay?"
"Sounds great." Heero nodded, handing the young man his helmet. "Night, Duo..... and thank you."
"Thanks for what, Heero?"
"Understanding...... and giving me a another chance."
Duo offered his friend a wide smile and fastened the strap of his helmet under his chin "We all fuck up, Heero, we're only human after all."
Lowering the dark visor on his helmet, Duo slowly pulled away from the curb and waved back toward his friend, wishing Heero's strong arms were still wrapped around him.
 Yup! Miss Grimble's was a real place and without a doubt had the best chocolate orange torte ever made!! Unfortunately, they closed several years ago. *sniffs* ... and in case anyone is wondering.. yes, I am a native New Yorker ^_~