Stephen had been asleep for four hours when a series of insistent knocks woke him from his percarious perch upon his couch. The first thing he asked himself was, "What time is it?": before immediately realizing that the noises he'd just heard were not dreamt. Especially not, when the knocking seemed to increase in volume.
"Coming! Jesus Christ, I'm coming!" Stephen shouted as loudly as he could what with it being 4 in the morning and his throat feeling like he'd swallowed gravel. He sat up on his well-worn couch and ran a hand quickly down his face. Who the hell could it be at FOUR IN THE MORNING?!
Well, he decided, that whomever it was certainly deserved the attention from him that they were so desperately seeking. He hopped off the couch with entirely too much energy for the wee hours of the morning. Stephen walked the two feet to the door and began undoing the impressive amount of locks and deadbolts on the door, without even bothering to look out of the broken peephole. "Need to get that fixed." He muttered to himself.
Finally wrenching the door open, Stephen looked out to see Paul leaning against the wall adajacent to his door, hand over his face. Something was wrong; "Well no shit, sherlock," Stephen thought, "It's early enough for a whole lot of shit to be wrong."
"Paul?" The man's head snapped up, nearly coming back against the hard plaster wall. Paul didn't look right. Stephen couldn't put his finger on it, he knew it wasn't the hour, Paul was an admitted insomniac, as well as Stephen. "Jesus, man, you look like...."
"Hell?" Paul's voice sounded weak and off pitch. So far this Paul was seeming more and more like a strangely watered-down version of his normal self. "Yeah, I can buy it." Stephen stepped back from the door frame, in an unconscious gesture for Paul to enter. As Paul brushed past him, Stephen also noted the slumped posture of his best friend and co-worker/accomplice, which was also abnormal seeing how Paul's posture was almost always assuredly confidient.
"Why do you look like Hell, Paul? More importantly, why are you here at four in-the-morning?" Paul walked over to the couch and sighed. As several moments passed by silently, Stephen huffed, adjusted his askew glasses, and crossed his arms against his chest.
"I-uh-took a chance that you were up?" Paul said, looking like there was something more he wanted to say but couldn't form words."Paul..." Stephen crossed the room and sat next to the man on the couch, "But not too close." he reminded himself. "What's wrong?" Paul looked at Stephen with amused exhaustion.
"What? Why does something have to be wrong for me to visit you at--" Paul glanced up at the clock above Stephen's television, "4:26 am?" Stephen placed a comforting hand on Paul's upper arm. This combined with the oddly stern look that the man was giving him, was...needlessly bizarre.
"Because, it's 4:26 on Mon-Tuesday, and you look like death warmed over." The man scoffed, the sound ricocheting through his handsome features unpleasantly. "Tell me what the fuck is wrong, Paul, or I'll put you out on the fire escape." "Typical comedian, reflect everything with humor. Jesus, Stephen, be sensitive." Stephen mentally slapped himself. "It's early in the morning and he's playing games, how nice can he expect me to be? If he--"
"I'm single now, Stephen." "Well, shit."
"How the fuck can I be single? After eight years, Stephen. Eight-goddamn-years."
"I don't know she just rolls over in bed, when I climb in and says that I should be with someone else. She says I need to be with someone I need....? I just don't fucking get it, man! For God's Sake, I made love to her less than two days ago." The look on Paul's face is nothing short of unbearable pain and utter confusion.
"Jesus..." Stephen exhales.
"I know." Paul looks away from Stephen and the man can't help but empathize.
"This is awful--I know--but, were--are you in love with someone else?" Paul scoffs, again. Stephen's beginning to hate that sound.
"Damned if I know. She's seems pretty hell bent that I was...She wasn't even angry, that's the thing, it's like she made peace with it. And when I asked her who I was so in love with, she only says, 'You'll figure it out.'"
"Well, Hell, Paul, the only thing I can suggest would be for you to crash here...and we'll try to make some sense of Amy." Paul sighs and manages a bleak nod. "Hey I'll even throw in a free ride in my, what did you call it....? Oh, screaming death-trap of metal." "That Camero has had it."
They each settle into their respected places, Stephen squeezed onto the over-stuffed LAY-Z-Boy and Paul onto the worn-out sofa. Hours pass, yet neither manage much sleep.
To be continued shortly (probably within a day :P)