LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

roommates. by frostfall

act one: scene one.

Yeah, I know. Another new story when I haven't finished my other one. But I have to admit, I'm a little burned out by that so I'm sorry to those who are waiting for an update on it!!! I'll get to it eventually, don't worry!!!


I had this idea for a while now so why not write it down? I plan for it to be in three parts, each consisting of several chapters, which means the romance is gonna be a slow burn haha. Don't know if it'll be a good idea to make it long considering my busy life but the idea won't stop bugging me haha.


Anyway, hope you guys enjoy!!! And I hope everybody is having a great new year so far!!!




*****




Mike's almost about to publish the Craigslist advertisement when Brad calls. He tucks the phone between his left cheek and shoulder as he flips a nearby book open absentmindedly. It's an encyclopedia, one which he doesn't even remember owning.


"So, remember what I told you?" Brad starts as a way of greeting.


"Told me what?" Mike flippantly asks as he scans through a page about dinosaurs. Judging by the simple grammar and simple visuals, it's a children's encyclopedia. “And it’s one in the morning. Why are you even up?”


“I have papers to deal with. And I need to tell you something before it slipped my mind.”


“Couldn’t it wait ‘til tomorrow?” Mike proposes, flipping to the next page, which displays the fastest animals based on land, water, and air.


Why did he even buy this in the first place? Why in the world would he even need an encyclopedia when he has the Internet, let alone a children’s one. It’s definitely not the one he owned during his childhood. This encyclopedia is good as new. Heck, there’s a receipt slipped between a couple of pages, dating back to last Sunday.


He definitely doesn’t remember buying any sort of encyclopedia last Sunday.


“Like I said, I need to tell you this before I forget. So remember I was egging you for being a shut-in?"


"Uh huh." Mike skims through several pages, setting his sights on a couple of images he really does not need to see.


It’s about animal reproduction, which he doesn’t actually have a problem with. After all, it’s natural and way of life or some stupid shit like that.


But it’s an explicit illustration of two tree frogs fucking each other. Next to them is a similar-looking frog, releasing what looks like eggs into a pond.


Ew, what the fuck?


Thankfully, it’s only a cartoon and not a picture of real frogs and eggs but what the fuck?


He slams the book shut with a loud thud.


To think it’s a children’s encyclopedia too.


“And I was telling you that you’ll probably die sad and depressed thinking about how you hardly have friends?” Brad continues.


“Yeah?”


“And I thought you should get a roomie?”


“Yup.”


"And―"


Oh for god’s sake.


"Will you get to the point?" Mike snaps aloud.


He receives a snicker as a reply. "What's got up your ass?"


Mike rolls his eyes. If Brad doesn’t spit out whatever he has to say, he’s going to hang up on him right this instance. And Brad hates being hung up on.


But whatever. Childhood friends and wrath be damned.


"I'm not in the mood for games. It’s one in the morning and I've been editing my ad for a couple hours now and I just graded loads of artwork so if you could just get to the point, you'd be doing me and my shitty mood a huge favour."


"God, Mike, fucking chill. I was just teasing. Should I call you back tom―? Wait did you say “ad”?”


He feels his cheeks warm. Mike doesn’t even know why he did what he did. Maybe it’s because he had a couple of beers and figured hey, why the fuck not?


It’s definitely not because he’s lonely. Nope. No sirree. Not at all.


Judging by Brad’s bright tone, Mike knows what’s coming. Because Brad is nothing but predictable. “Yes, Delson. I know what you’re gonna say.”


“And that is…?”


Mike sighs again. “Mikey boy,” he begins, molding his voice to sound like his idiotic friend. “I told you so.”


“Exactly.”


“Fuck you.”


“You love me.”


“Not anymore.”


“You’re breaking my heart.”


“That’s the goal.”


"Okay, okay, chill man. I'm just fucking with ya." Brad huffs. “You’re no fun anymore.”


Despite it being a light-hearted jab, there’s some truth to Brad’s words. No longer does anybody bother hanging around him freely, be it his co-workers or his students. He hates how that everytime he walks into the office or his class, everybody ceases their conversations. Months ago people would flock to him, seeking his company.


Now, he’s the asshole nobody wants around.


But whatever. They can do whatever the hell they want. It doesn't bother him. Not in the slightest.


Mike chews his bottom lip as he scans through the paragraph he written. His friend doesn’t say a word for the next several seconds. He doubts it’s because his intimidation technique worked. They’ve known each other far too long to be afraid of one another. “Well?”


“Chill man, Jesus. I was grabbing my coffee. Remind me not to call you in the middle of the night.” He hears a sharp intake of breath. “Okay, so Dave was telling me last night that a friend of his plans to move down here.” Brad lulls, most likely for dramatic effect. “Thing is, he doesn’t have a place to stay at.”


Ah, he gets it.


Mike may be a lowly art major, but he’s not stupid. He knows his best friend well enough to know that he’s being set up. Brad’s strong suit is never subtlety.


If only his best friend would be as attentive to his wife as he is to Mike's friendship/love life.


“So you want me to take him in.”


“Well...I mean, he insists to pay you for rent. So it’s not a charity case thing.”


Mike inhales deeply. “Brad, we talked about this.”


“Talked about what?”


“You know what.”


“Dude, you won't see him often. He’s gonna be working down at Dave’s bar. So you probably would miss him most of the time anyway.”


“If that’s the case, why can’t Dave take him in?”


“You know why.”


Ugh, of course Mike knows what that means. Dave's married. Of course it’ll be weird to have your friend, wife and kids staying under one roof.


Mike wipes his face with his free palm. “Fine. I'll think about it.”


And not because whatever Brad said is true. He’s only doing it so Brad can leave him alone and Mike could finally delete the unpublished advertisement and get some shuteye.


"Great, great! Take all the time you need! The dude’s only coming by next week anyway,” Brad exclaims, sounding relieved. “Though there's a slight problem."


"What?"


A pause. "You don't mind if he smokes, do you?"


Mike could only muster a heavy sigh.




*****




Thing is, Mike minds. A lot.


That’s one of his pet peeves ― smoking. He loathes it ― the toxic smog that wafts through the air needlessly, poisoning the smoker and the people around them. The fact that people even have “smoke breaks” in the need of purging habits and cravings blows his mind. If anybody felt stressed out, why don’t they just try hitting the gym, or paint or anything that doesn’t involve polluting their surroundings?


But Brad is a persistent little shit as always and Mike caves in after a week of hounding.


“Just tell Dave to bring him around tomorrow morning,” he tells him as he wades through the thick Friday crowd, people trudging back home after a long day of work. “We’ll see from there.”


“It’s not a sure thing, is it?”


Mike shrugs but then remembers Brad is on the other side of town cooped up in an office and not walking next to him. “Yeah, guess so. But just tell Dave, alright?”


“Sure, sure.”


Mike pockets his phone after hanging up before quickening his pace, eager to be home.


If it does work out (which Mike doubts, honestly), he supposes he could lay some ground rules, maybe tell the guy to smoke outside before coming in. Sure there might still be a hint of the stench but it’s better than nothing. Mike plans to steer clear of the guy anyway. Or maybe he’d crack a window open. If that sort of thing work.


It’ll be weird sharing the same space with somebody else again. He’s gone on living alone for so long that he forgot what it’s like to hear the soft footfalls of another, the pounding of the shower next door, the sight of different pairs of shoes next to his.


But that’s the least of his worries. Truth to be told, Mike doesn’t do socialization.


Well, not anymore. He’s not an introvert by any means. He likes being around people, striking conversations about different topics and gathering various viewpoints. It's vitalizing in a way.


But lately, conversations doesn't have the same spark. Every time he’s around people, needing to exchange words, the urge to crawl under the covers spikes up. He blames it on his work, which has been sapping his energy nowadays. Not only does he have mountains of artwork to grade, he's also the teacher-in-charge of helming a mini art exhibition with his students. Today is one of the rare days that he has the luxury of heading home early.


Bottom line is, Mike doesn’t have time to make connections with other people, let alone exchange a couple sentences on his own accord. It’s already hard enough to maintain constant contact with the few friends he already has at the moment. So why would he go out of his way to make his already difficult life more stressful?


He knows Brad worries about him, lecturing him on his hermit-like tendencies on a regular basis. But he can’t help what he feels, right?


Despite Brad’s good intentions, he goes a little overboard. Or way too much. Hell, the man is constantly checking in on him like a clingy mother. It may be endearing surface-wise, it’s smothering in reality. It’s a wonder that he has time to juggle both babysitting Mike, having a family, and his career. If only Mike could possess his multitasking skills.


And speaking of multitasking skills, he should stop thinking about stuff like this when he’s walking because, fuck he just collided with something solid.


The impact doesn’t send Mike reeling or landing on his ass. But his shirt suddenly feels wet and warm and the man in front of him is just gawking at him with a cup in hand, little brown puddles pooling beneath their feet.


And Mike shouldn’t be staring at him with his mind blank, fuck, because this random guy just spilled steaming coffee all over his shirt. Fortunately, it's not a shirt he’d miss, a worn-out striped dress shirt he got as a gift a year back.


But anyway, why isn’t there a lid covering the rim of that paper cup? Who in their right mind doesn’t seal their cups? The barista should be sued.


The guy doesn’t say anything either, just gapes openly. Their eyes meet for a moment. They’re a warm chocolate. Mike immediately averts them.


“Fuck,” the guy spits out.


Mike wants to slap him. Mike wants to run away. Mike wants the world to swallow him whole.


This is bad. Very, very bad. He doesn’t know why he thinks it’s bad though. It's just a little mishap after all. Probably because neither of them is saying anything or moving a muscle and heck, this must look really weird to passer-bys.


Seriously, why can’t his fucking legs move?


“Fuck,” the guy repeats. “I didn’t see― I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention. I― Uh―”


As if by magic, Mike finds the energy in him to work his jaw. “It’s fine. I’m okay.”


But the man has set his empty cup on top of a conveniently-placed post box and is now rummaging through his messenger bag. Pulling out a handful of paper napkins, he thrusts them into Mike’s hands. “Here, use these.”


This gives him the opportunity to admire the guy’s arms. They’re covered in inked flames of varying hues. Mike stifles a moan. He always has a weakness for pretty colours and―


Wait, why is he thinking this? What’s happening again?


Oh right.


“No, no, I’m fine,” Mike says, pushing the napkins away. It’s my fault. I wasn't paying atten―”


“No, it isn’t,” the guy counters, shoving them back into Mike’s hands. “You’re covered in coffee and I’m a total idiot and I probably burned you and―”


This is getting ridiculous, Mike thinks. Because really, they’re having a napkin tug-of-war in the middle of the pavement, and his shirt reeks of coffee and everybody is staring at them and oh god―


“Hey,” Mike interrupts him, more firmly this time. His fingers clamp themselves around both of the guy’s wrists. “It’s okay.”


He falters, his dark gaze flickering up to meet Mike’s. He turns away in response.


“I’m really, really sorry.”


“It’s okay.”


He moves to rub the back of his neck, gesturing to Mike’s body with his other hand. “I― Uh― I hope that isn’t your favourite shirt.”


Mike arches an eyebrow before shrugging. “Nah. Blue isn’t my colour. Or stripes. I mean, I like the colour but stripes never suited me. My brother got this for me last year. Never came around to wear it. I didn’t have anything nice to wear so I thought, “Hey, why don’t I wear this?” He has shitty taste in clothing, you know?”


Mike Shinoda, what in god’s name are you fucking babbling about?


So much for hating conversation.


A chuckle escapes the guy's lips. “I’m sure he has good intentions, despite his lack of, uh...fashion sense.”


Mike snorts. “Jason? Good intentions? If only you knew.”


Shut up, Mike. Just shut up now before you embarrass yourself further.


The guy lets out another breathy laugh and his eyes find Mike’s again. It’s not those brown orbs that unnerves him. It’s that smile of his, the way the guy’s looking at him like he’s the sun peeking behind grey clouds or the stars guiding him home. It’s weird.


Very weird. The whole situation is weird. And awkward.


Which means, it's time to bail.


“Um, I got to go,” Mike mutters under his breath, before dashing off.


He doesn’t know if the guy is calling or chasing after him. He doesn’t want to know. All he wants is to lock himself in the confinements of his apartment and never leave and all he knows is that his brain has short-circuited and his heart's hammering against his chest.


Mike doesn’t stop moving until he’s right outside his front door. A quiet Japanese curse slips from his lips as he fumbles for his house key in his pants’ pockets.


“Ah ha!” he whispers to himself as he slips it through the keyhole, turning before bursting inside.


Finally. Sanctuary.


Sanctuary until tomorrow, that is. Maybe. If things doesn't go well. Or well.


“Fuck,” Mike groans to himself, roughly unbuttoning his ruined shirt. He doesn’t know whether it’s due to the idea of having somebody living with him or the awkward situation he was in. Probably both.


What he needs now is a shower.


An image of deep brown eyes, white teeth, and flaming tattoos flashes in his mind. He immediately purges it with the thought of frogs fucking, which is probably not the best course of action because ew.


Now, this is why he doesn’t do socialization.




*****




Fun fact, one of my Science textbooks in secondary (high) school had pictures of those frogs. Safe to say, I was traumatized. XD

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