While he drove himself home, Jay huffed and cursed into the cold air with wrinkles in his muzzle. Back to the ten-story complex he went.
As soon as he pulled up to his usual parking spot, out came a middle aged woman from the management office. She was a snow leopard just like him, but dressed up much nicer; clad in a clean blue business suit. Jaydin killed the engine and stepped out of his car.
"Where have you been?" She interrogated him with such a prickly tone of voice, yet didn't even give him nearly enough time to reply. "I told you I wanted to be there early, your ass is lucky we won't be late!"
"I told you I was getting an oil change!" Jaydin gave her a grouchy tone of his own as he walked up to the building next to her.
The woman's miffed expression only turned incredulous. "Yeah. Sure you were." She carried on with her dismissive attitude. "Just go upstairs and get dressed, we're leaving in ten minutes Jaydin."
"I'm not hungry anymore." Jaydin said matter-of-factly, staring down at the lady all the while.
"oh I wonder how that happened!" She growled. She then forwardly grabbed Jay by the arm and, despite being a full five inches shorter than him, took a step along the sidewalk to aggressively shove him in the same direction. "I'm not doing this with you outside Jay! Go get dressed!" She hollered.
Jaydin hissed when he was grabbed and pushed a couple steps. Regardless of the obviously rude guidance, he continued walking down that route anyways. As he walked, he turned his head and raised his voice, "I'm not going to your dumbass dinner!"
The woman bared her teeth over a hiss of her own. "Yeah, sure go cry in your pillow and do nothing then!" She derided him loudly behind his back.
"Fuck you!" Jay spat to the side, then snapped his focus forward toward the main building entrance ahead of him.
The woman quietly laughed to herself. "Great." She scoffed alone, folding her arms. "Real fuckin great." She turned her head.
Up on the eighth floor, the elevator chimed once just before it opened up to let Jay walk briskly down the hall. He pinched the bridge of his muzzle, baring his teeth over a pointedly annoyed grumble, letting it echo a little in the uninsulated space. At apartment number 8192, Jay dug around in his pocket, taking out what looked like a keycard attached loosely to an actual key. That keycard was pressed against the door just above the handle. Then, a friendly beep came from the handle, followed closely by a metallic unlatching just off to its side.
Jaydin let himself in to his place. It was tiny studio, barely two hundred square feet, not that he cared. The door shut behind him with a loud click and automatic lock. There was a bunch of random stuff strewn about the place; empty cans on the desk, resealed snacks on the countertop, worn clothes lazily tossed in a small pile, near the unmade bed and couch...
With a sharp inhale, and long sigh afterwards, Jay went to the far end of the apartment and flopped chest-first on those bunched up bedcovers, not even bothering to take his boots off, just letting them hang off the rear of the bed. He grabbed his phone from his pocket, and immediately navigated to his messenger. He aimlessly flicked through his previous messages, long before eventually typing up another one.
|📶︎ 60% 22:10|
|Monday, 17 June 2205|
|+ Hey man..|
|☐ ◯ ◁|
|Thursday, 20 June 2205|
|Vince was cool.|
|Ey glad to hear|
He said you were feeling kinda bad though. You okay?
Its just my mom again.
|What'd she do this time|
|Blew up my phone while I was at Vincent's place.|
|Jeez. Still can't leave you alone?|
|She wanted me to go to some fancy corporate dinner. Told her I wasn't hungry and she just yelled at me anyways.|
But either way I'm back home.
|Take it you had a good time|
|Yeah. Vince was chill. He even made me dinner, which is why I wasn't hungry.|
|I've never not known Vinny to be a generous guy.|
|I like him. But I think I made things awkward, especially if he talked to you about it.|
|That wasn't your fault and you know it...|
|Yeah but I still feel bad you know|
|Did you tell him why?|
|No, I just left.|
|You gotta tell him man.|
Otherwise he'll never know.
|What if he doesn't care|
|He cares. Trust me I've come out to him before. He's a really supportive guy and really just wants company.|
|Come on at least tell him why you had to leave...|
I'm telling you Jay, he'd appreciate it a lot.
Jaydin arrived, finally, strolling in with his work jacket, work jeans, and combat boots on. The cat's face was as bored as it always was, yet seemed a little naked without being so full of metal. Fishing around in his pocket, he pulled out his nametag as he approached the company timekeeper. 'Tech Team' the tag read, just under his name. He swiped it through the time clock at exactly 14:05, naturally late, but only technically so.
Back to his department he went; back behind the counter where they built computers and repaired more than just that. He was just one of the trusty delivery boys though.
"Ey, Jay." A familiar voice called to him.
"Hey." Jay said just as coolly, if not with a bit of a tired tone.
Jay took a seat at the computer, right next to Akira, that Japanese striped hyena he's known since high school. It didn't take long for Jay to join in on the the party that was a bunch of young men all checking their phones.
Akira is the only one that eventually put their phone down, instead putting their focus on the computer screen in front of them, checking and verifying various products and installations and all manner of other delivery-based duties.
* * * *
* * * * *
Nearly an hour into their shift, it was time to deliver the goods. It was the yeen's turn to drive this time. Akira was already sat in the driver's seat of the company truck. Having checked all the merchandise in the back and securing it well, Jay reached up and pulled down the metal door shut. Jay came back around and climbed up into the passenger seat. Akira started up their navigation device stuck onto the windshield. The passenger door shut with a dull klunk.
"In one thousand feet, turn right onto Post Creek avenue." The small device chimed, even though they hadn't even moved yet. Akira muted that annoying English voice, then started the heavy engine. Out came the heated air, and the Russian radio tunes, all the while Jay just leaned back in his seat and silently engaged himself with his phone yet again.
They drove off like any typical work day. The sun was already setting. Traffic was merciful, letting the boys run themselves out to a hundred miles an hour on the freeway.
Having been so focused on his phone as opposed to the road around them, Jay laid a hand on his stomach, letting out a muted yet annoyed grunt. It prompted him to put his phone down and stow it back into his pocket. The snow cat just leaned against the inner side of the door instead, simply looking out at the quick-passing surroundings through the windows.
Talking over the noise of the russkie radio, Akira called the cat once again. "Ey. Jay."
"mYeah?" Jay responded like it was routine.
Only taking his eyes off the road for a second, Akira glances over to the bored cat. "So you talked to Vinny, right?" The hyena checked, then focused on the freeway again.
Jay sunk back in his seat the slightest bit. It took him a second to come up with an answer, puffing out a hushed sigh through the nostrils all the while. "...No." He was short and cranky with his response.
Akira groaned. "Come on man I told you you have to tell him something or he's gonna feel bad forever."
"I just haven't gotten around to it okay?"
"pfh You had the whole ass day yesterday to do it. Unless that was your sleep day." Akira put a little sass into those last couple words.
"I didn't know what to tell him yesterday." The cat began to fold his arms. "Why do you want me to talk to him so much anyways?" He griped. Jay's naturally grumpy face only got grouchier.
"Cuz you said you like him," Akira said plain and simple, "and I know you don't do that unless you mean it."
Jay only sunk further in his chair, tightening his arms and tipping his muzzle up to look at the permanent grey cloud cover all across the sky. His big bushy tail tip flicked by his shins.
Akira glanced shortly at the cat once more, then back to the road. "I just think you're wasting an opportunity, man." The yeen prodded some more. The air went silent, beyond the low radio.
"His dick's pretty big y'know." Akira smirked.
Jay just scoffed. "Fuck off." He grumped, turning his head to the passenger window.
"Heh, Well he doesn't care if you like guys, if that's what you're afraid of."
"I'm not afraid of him."
"Then throw him a bone, dude."
"Fine, jeez!" Jay huffed, pulling back from the side window and leaning into his seat some more. "I'll get back to him on my next day off." He compromised.
Akira let out a low laugh under his breath. "I expect to hear about it after."
The silence came back. At least this time the conversation was over. On the navigator screen, the next exit was coming up...
Jay sighed. He was sat in the passenger seat again, but this time he was alone in the truck. Lots of light spilled over Jay's side, coming in through the side window from the store's bright as hell sign. He had his phone out again, unsurprisingly. He stared at it for a good while; it took him a moment to muster up the courage to text him.
|📶︎ 100% 🔋︎ 20:31|
|Jaydin Eversnow — 145-545-3006|
|Wednesday, 26 June 2205|
|Anytime Jay. Let me know when you get here|
+ again later okay
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
|☐ ◯ ◁|
Vincent sent his message off, and then put his phone back in his pocket. He left the light on in the kitchen, and even turned on the attached dining room's light, before retiring to the living room with the TV on.
A long while into his binge-watching, Vince started to feel the weight in his eyelids. He leaned back into his soft sofa, exhaling a long gentle breath, but still tried to keep his eyes peeled for the action on-screen.
Vincent's pocket vibrated and pinged. Pulling his phone back out, he read a new message.
|Ey, I'm here.|
It was the dog's cue to get up and check the door. Once it was opened, he could spot that familiar cat walking up to it. "Hey, welcome back." Vince greeted calmly.
"Hey, Vinny." Jay said as he walked up to the threshold. He had his piercings back in, now that he was off-work.
Vincent stepped aside to invite the snow leopard in, then gently closed the door behind them when they entered. "What's the occasion?" He politely asked.
"Occasion?" Jay asked back, seemingly confused.
While locking the door up, Vince turned his head to Jay. "I mean, what brings you back to my place?" He clarified.
As he walked near to the end of the dining room, Jay's tail brought itself closer to his own shins. "ah...I mean," he hesitated a little, turning back to Vince, "I just, wanted to say sorry for leaving suddenly last time."
"Hey, don't worry about it man." Vincent gently reassured, coming into the tiled room as well. "Just hope nothing bad happened."
Vincent kept his eyes on Jay's face, studying it a little. Jay seemed to be keen on avoiding eye contact, just like last time.
Jay shook his head a little. "Nothing went wrong really, I just had to go somewhere." He explained, technically truthfully. Jay rested an elbow on the top of one of the tall chairs.
"Yeah? Where'd you end up going, if you don't mind me asking?"
"eh...Just back home really. My mom wanted me to go to some fancy dinner, but I wasn't hungry so I just ended up in my room."
"ah, I should have let you go on an empty stomach then, heh." Vincent gave out a very brief laugh.
After that laugh, Jay relaxed a little more. "nah, What you made was probably better than where she wanted to go."
"Hmhm, Well thank you Jay." Vincent showed a subtle smile along his long muzzle. "You need anything to drink, ey?" Vince offered, walking past the cat on his way towards the fridge.
Jay followed the dober a short ways. "Sure, whatever you have."
"Well, not much but you seemed to like it last time." Vincent said while he opened the fridge. He took out a can of soda, same as last time, and handed it off to the cat, who accepted it without question. "You hungry? I got leftovers if you want some." Vince stood up.
"I'll be good." Jay declined.
Vincent passed Jay once again as he routed off towards the living room, all the while conversing some more, "ah Well, I wasn't planning on doing much tonight but passing time." He stopped just in front of the carpet. "Make yourself at home, and if you need anything just ask." Vinny nodded to the cat, before leaving them be.
Meanwhile, Jay opened cracked his soda open and wandered in the kitchen/dining room a little, taking big gulps out of that can. At some point, he pulled out a chair to sit down in, pulled his jacket off, then untied and unzipped his boots, taking them off and setting them out neatly. Eventually he flicked off all the lights, and followed Vinny's path into the, now dark, living room.
The television was the only source of light illuminating the space. Vincent had been sat on his sofa again. Jaydin blocked the dobermann's view for just a second, as he came over, moved his big tail out of the way, and sat down on the couch with them, right in the middle. Jay took another sip of his soda.
The rest of the house was silent, the only noises being that which the TV puts out. Vincent seemed to be idly drinking in the content the TV series had to offer, while propping his head up on a knuckle by his cheek.
"Hey Jay." Vincent asked idly.
"How old are you?"
"uh, Twenty-three. Why?"
"Twenty-three and still with your parents ey?" Vincent turned his eyes to rest on Jay.
"mnh, No not really."
"ah? You said you went back home to your mom though? Not that living with your parents is bad or anything." Vincent continued curiously, straightening up in his seat and focusing on the cat now.
"I mean yeah, but I don't live with her." Jay looked at the TV, or the surroundings, but didn't put his gaze on Vincent.
"What was she doing at your place then?" Vince continued to press.
Jaydin looked down at his claws. "eh...She's my landlord."
"oh ho?" Vincent voiced his surprise. "Isn't that...illegal?"
Jay looked away. Neither of them were interested in the TV anymore. "No. It really isn't. But I guess it makes sense why you'd think that."
"What about your dad?"
Jay made a muted grunt, like he was expecting the question. "He's not in the picture."
"ah, Ran away?" Vincent began to look over Jay again.
"No, just divorced." The cat's big tail hugs to his shins.
"But he never visited you or anything?"
"I don't know. Mom probably wouldn't let him."
"Is she really that spiteful?"
Jaydin shrugged just a little. "Most of the time." He said, then took the last sip of his soda.
Hearing the sounds of a dry can, Vincent put a hand out in an offer to take the can off Jay. "So your dad never came home, and you basically live in your mom's place. You got such an interesting life that it almost sounds like there's more to this story you aren't telling me."
Jay handed his empty can over to Vince, but then made a bit of a grumpy face at what the dog had to say. "What makes you think that." Jay's tone got somewhat defensive.
"A few things." Vincent answered matter-of-factly, while putting the can down on the endtable next to the couch. "I'd like to think I know when someone's telling the truth, but only technically."
Jay gave Vincent a sideways glare. His muzzle felt a bit of a wrinkle coming on. Vincent slid in a little closer to Jaydin, and put an arm around the cat. He was gentle, and only laid his hand on Jay's biceps.
Jay didn't move, but didn't tense up neither. Vince said, "I trust that you're being honest to a point, Jay. I just think there's something more that your struggling to come out with."
Jaydin's tail hugged tighter against his own shins, he put his own arms around his waist, and his rounded ears slowly flattened to the sides. After a moment of silence, Jay leaned towards Vincent.
"Take your time." Vincent said solemnly. The hand on Jay's arm started to pet over the sleeve.
A mostly quiet grunt came from the cat. "Where d'you want me to start?" Jay asked lowly.
"Mm..." Vincent gave Jay a little more pause between topics. "What's your mother's name?"
"...How come Sylvia put you in an apartment?"
Jay sighed through the nares. "She basically kicked me out as soon as I turned eighteen and got a job." Jay put his head down on the dobermann's shoulder. Vincent adjusted his hold to come closer. Jay continued, "She gives me a discount on rent, as long as I stay in line."
"ah, One of those mothers huh. At least she loves you enough not to completely throw you out."
"Nah..." Jay denied, then didn't answer for several seconds. Eventually he turned his head towards Vincent's chest, and said in a somber tone, "...She doesn't love me..."
"Hey now..." Vincent intervened, "I think you're beating yourself up there." He gave the snow leopard a light squeeze.
Jaydin's next breath was heard clearly, then let out in a moderately strained huff. He was trying to keep it together. "If she saw me right now she wouldn't be happy." He sniffled, and began to faintly groan. Jay's tail laid onto his lap, where he gripped into its black and white fluff with both hands.
Vince fixated on Jay's face, which was becoming wet around the muzzle. After a moment or two, he reached over with his free arm and completed the sideways embrace around the big cat. Vincent hesitated to go further, but soon enough his curiosity got the better of him. "What do you mean, when you say 'see you right now'?"
Jaydin's breathing was audible yet breaking up more the longer he was pried at. It took some time for him to contain himself before responding, "She hates it when I do gay shit..." All the while, Jay comforts himself using his tail; combing through the fluff with his fingers.
A frown started creeping up on Vincent's otherwise neutral face. His brows curved up, and his tone of voice became notably soft. "I'm sorry...Should I stop?" Vincent went quiet, and then eased up on the hug.
"No." Jay answered promptly, though not without a shaky delivery. He leaned further towards Vincent, and brought his legs up onto the couch. Jaydin laid his head on Vinny's lap, clearly in need of some extra comfort with his sniveling. Jay kept a hold on his own tail, keeping it close to his chest.
Vincent sat still for Jaydin, even stroking along the cat's side for the time being. He put a hand to his own muzzle, and stayed silent yet available, while Jay let it out.
"She says she doesn't want a gay son..." Jay sniffled some more. "She's kept telling me that ever since she kicked dad out...mgnh...Says she 'never raised me that way'"
Jay's blubbering kept getting worse.
"But, ngh...I've never really been interested in women..." He whimpered, genuinely. His muzzle was soaking.
The tears were soaking the fur around his muzzle. Jaydin had become quite choked up. "gnh, hh...I hate myself for it...hff..." Jay growled and cursed at himself. "I don't matter..."
Vincent brings his hand up to the side of Jay's head, giving it gentle pets over the cheek and hair. At one point, he stopped petting and simply rubbed Jay's cheek fluff with his thumb. "You do matter, Jay." Vince said honestly. With the free hand, he rubbed his own eye for a second, but otherwise went on, "No matter what anyone says, not even what you say to yourself."
Jaydin meanwhile took his time cooling down, though Vincent's gentle guidance helped him along with that.
"You don't have to hate what isn't a problem, Jay." Vincent said calmly. He put his hand on the cat's shoulder. "There's a whole world of people who'll accept you for who you are instead of what they want you to be. Like Akira. or Me." He resumed petting over Jaydin's arm.
Vincent let out a concerned sigh. "What Sylvia's been doing to you is terrible...I think the best thing to do is realize that she's way in the minority here." He paused, tipping his gaze down to Jay. "She's useless to appeal to. It just sounds like all she wants is a trophy, not a son."
Jay soon began to sit back upright, lifting himself off of Vince's lap and letting go of the tail. Jaydin's breathing gradually came back to normal, while he rubbed his wet eyes and face. "mh...I'm sorry." He apologized in a little more of a level-headed manner.
"You don't have to be." Vince reassured. "You didn't do anything wrong." He continued, keeping his hands to himself now. "You may just be too concerned about goals that someone else set for you, instead of your own."
Jaydin grabbed the bottom of his work shirt and pulled it up to better dry off his face. Occasionally his sighs still shuddered a bit here and there. "mf, That's the thing though...I don't want to be like this."
Vincent reached to the side, grabbing an open box of tissues and offering it back over to Jay. "I'll be honest, I didn't think you'd open up to me that quick."
Jay took the tissue box and pulled several out to dry his face more effectively. "I just don't have a lot of people to talk to...and they've heard it all already." He was calming down, gaining back his natural grumpy face, if not a bit damp.
He had been forcing himself to regain composure and keep it that way; his expression turned into that of disappointment. "I hate being so vulnerable." He griped at himself. "This wouldn't ever have been a problem if it weren't for my body..." Jaydin huffed, then stood up from the couch. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, Vince."
The dobermann got up to stand as well. "Jay." Vincent demanded attention. He forwardly reached around Jaydin's back and pulled the cat into a proper standing hug. "Don't be sorry. You haven't done anything wrong." He continued sternly.
Jay clenched the tear-dipped tissues in a fist, but didn't stop the affection, unlike last time.
Vincent tilted his muzzle lightly into the fluff of Jay's neck. "I really appreciate you trusting me enough to come out like that. It means more than you think."
It took a moment, for Jay to put his free hand on Vincent's flank. "Thanks...for listening." He said quietly.
The hug between them was separated gently, just before Vincent put his hands on the cat's shoulders. "I've told you before and I'll tell you again, I'm here if you need anything. I don't just say that for nothing." Vincent tipped his muzzle down, looking Jay in the oddly colored eyes. "You understand?"
Jay could only manage to look Vincent in the eyes just long enough to say, "Yeah, I got it."
"Good. Don't forget that." Vincent said letting go of Jaydin soon after. "Sorry, we're you about to leave?"
"I-, did you want me to?" Jay asked, a bit confused and somewhat anxious.
"No. I mean, why still live at your mom's place if she treats you so bad?"
As Vince spoke, Jay spotted a small trash can in the living room and walked over to dispose of the tissues. "mh, It's complicated." He said flatly.
Vincent put his hands on his hips. "Well, at least from what I've heard today, I'd hate for you to have to go back to her. So you can stay here if you'd like." He offered.
"You sure man?" Jay turned to face Vince again. "I mean we've only known each other for like, ten days?" Jaydin sniffled one more time.
Vincent nodded. "I'm sure. You kinda deserve it, as far as I can tell." He affirmed, then turned around to walk down the hallway. "Gimme a sec and I'll get you a blanket." He raised his voice just a tad.
Waiting for Vincent's return, Jay sat himself back down on the couch. At the far end of the hall, Vince rummaged through a rather large cabinet and pulled out a big comforter, fit for a queen-sized bed.
The blanket was brought back over to the snow leopard, and handed off to them. "Thanks, Vince." Jay appreciated as he took it into his arms.
"Anytime." Vince nodded politely. He then retrieved a pillow off the other, smaller couch to give to Jay. "I'm assuming you don't gotta work tomorrow. I'd like to talk to you some more in the morning."
Jaydin was in the middle of unfolding the blanket and settling in, all the while Vincent spoke to him. "It's my day off, yeah." Jay affirmed.
"Good to hear." Vincent said, grabbing the TV remote and handing that to Jay as well. "If you need anything, anything at all," He reiterated yet again. "I'll be down the end of the hall on the left." Vince then vacated the living room off to his own bedroom, waving to the cat with the back of his hand. "G'night, Jay."
"Night." Jaydin said lightly. He soon turned the TV off, and got himself comfy on the soft couch, at some point finding the urge to kick off that blanket in order to keep himself cool in the warm house.He sprawled out in the dark for a long while, not used to sleeping so early. Though, there were also a million other things clouding his mind...