Chapter Eighty-One: “You know you’re not wearing pants, buddy?”

Gord and his roommates had managed to make new friends, which was almost unbelievable. They hadn’t had a new friend in the four years they’d lived together. Amare claimed it was because they were all unlikeable weirdos and, by moving in together, they had done the world a service by quarantining themselves from better company. Gord was very quick to point out that Amare spent almost all of his time, save for when he was working or sleeping or trying to scam some poor woman into dating him for a month, at their apartment with them. Amare pointedly ignored his comment, but Gord felt it still counted.

Their new friends were Sybil and Chris. They had really bonded that morning Sybil and Chris had awoken hungover in their living room unsure of where they were and how they had gotten there. From there, it had blossomed over the next few jazzercise classes. Gord had been to enough now that he didn’t nearly die every time he even thought about squatting or jumping continuously for five minutes. Now he could actually speak to people in the class while he exercised. Much to the chagrin of Jacklyn, he had spent several classes bopping around excitedly in the back row with Sybil and Chris, who was being coerced into exercising by Sybil.

That was arguably one of the best parts of being friends with Sybil and Chris: it drove Jacklyn crazy. He had found it funny how angry she had gotten when he’d begun hanging around her roommate, but this was even better. As Sybil had divulged one evening, Jacklyn didn’t like her either.

“We have so much in common,” he told her in response. Finch snorted. They were playing Trivial Pursuit, but largely drunkenly. It hadn’t started off drunken, but it had quickly turned that way when Robin showed up with a bottle of Joey’s Nona’s wine. Joey had begun storing it in whatever available space he could find in their apartment. Robin had found that specific bottle in his shower earlier that morning so he had brought it with him. Incidentally, he had also brought Joey, which had also contributed significantly to the drunkenness.

The second best thing about being friends with Sybil and Chris was Sybil herself. To put it simply, Gord was in love. Amare told him he was an idiot when he admitted it out loud after jazzercise class one night, but Gord was roughly ninety-eight per cent positive that was only because he too was in love with Sybil. He hadn’t checked, but Gord figured it was a strong possibility that Gavin was interested in her as well. Finch was the only one they could absolutely say was not and that was just as well because Amare was already too handsome for Gord to compete with; trying to compete with Finch as well would be disastrous for Gord.

Gavin was fine, though.

After roughly another hour of drunken Trivial Pursuit, there was a knock on their apartment door. Gord’s immediate thought was OBG, who had taken to visiting frequently in order to speak to Gord. Or, to be more accurate, to listen to Gord attempt to converse with him in broken Spanish. Gord had officially run out of Spanish words and phrases to tote out. He had in fact moved on to the only snippets of conversation he knew from other languages, which comprised of the mangled French he had learned in school until grade nine and everything he could remember from the one German course he had taken during his first year at university. Mostly that meant he greeted OBG by saying things like, “Bonjour, je m’appelle Gord” and “vorgestern habe ich einen Apfel gegessen”.

When Gord opened the door, however, he was somewhat surprised to find Jacklyn. She was cradling Snib in her arms and she looked extremely annoyed. Gord hadn’t seen Snib in quite some time. Ever since Finch had been gifted Eartha by Joey, Gord had felt the need to hang out with Snib significantly less. At least he was more disinclined to be yelled at by Jacklyn when he could spend time with a perfectly good cat in the comfort of his own home. He had assumed this refrain would please Jacklyn, but that did not appear to be the case.

“Can you please keep it down?” She demanded angrily, stroking Snib’s head so she looked like a small, beautiful, well-dressed Bond villain. “Some people are trying to sleep.”

Gord checked the time on his phone.

“It’s ten o’clock,” he pointed out. “On a Saturday.”

It was the wrong thing to say. Jacklyn looked murderous.

“Maybe I’ve had a long week,” she huffed haughtily. Gord thought about commenting on that, but decided against it. He thought they had worked into something vaguely resembling grudging acceptance after he had driven her to the train station in the dead of the night to pick up her friend.

“Alright,” he said instead. “We’ll keep it down.”

And then Sybil walked past the open front door behind Gord on her way to the bathroom. If Gord had thought Jacklyn looked murderous before, it was nothing compared to how she looked after she’d caught sight of Sybil in his apartment. He began to suspect that Jacklyn didn’t actually hate him as much as he had previously thought. Or perhaps she hadn’t hated him as much as he’d thought, but now she definitely did.

“Promise,” he said, cutting her off before she could say anything else. “We’ll keep it down.”

She turned back to him, glared again for good measure, and then stalked off back across the hall with Snib, who howled loudly in her arms as she went. Gord missed his billion toes more than he’d thought.

An hour later, there was another knock on the apartment door. Gord was immediately pissed because they had kept it down. He had even turned down the volume on the record player and Finch had tried to best to keep Joey from singing at alarmingly frequent intervals. Gord stormed to the door and wrenched it open, prepared to tell Jacklyn to piss off because it was a Saturday and they were being quiet. Instead of finding Jacklyn on the other side of the door however, he came face to face with OBG. It was unfortunate timing because, in his blind rage, he had forgotten to come up with something new to say in Spanish. Left with very few options, Gord settled for staring silently at OBG, his tiny dog, and his white briefs.

“Good evening,” OBG greeted him solemnly after a very long and uncomfortable mutual silence. Gord nodded in response. OBG said nothing else. They both continued to stare at each other without an end in sight. Gord wondered how long he was expected to stand there in silence and do nothing. Surely this wasn’t what OBG had come by to do. Although, he wasn’t sure what else OBG would’ve come by to do and, what’s more, he wasn’t sure he really wanted to know why he had come by.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you looked at it, Joey walked by on his way to the bathroom. Gord was initially pleased that it wasn’t Sybil because he didn’t want her to see OBG. It was slightly embarrassing. And then of course, Joey began to talk and Gord remembered why his presence was equally as bad and embarrassing, just for different reasons.

“You know you’re not wearing pants, buddy?” He asked OBG, stopping just beside Gord at the door.

“I am free,” was OBG’s cryptic and unsettling response.

“Well, yeah, we can see that,” Joey returned, horrifyingly gesturing to OBG’s crotch. “I assume we woke you up. That’s why you aren’t wearing pants, but have on this terry cloth bathrobe. You’re dressed for bed.”

Gord really wished OBG was in fact dressed for bed. He regretted deeply that this was the outfit OBG wore casually throughout weekdays.

“You actually here to tell us to keep it down?” Joey asked after another moment, probably because nobody else had said anything. Gord, who had really painted himself into the proverbial corner by pretending to only speak Spanish, was mostly incapable of adding to the conversation, given that he couldn’t actually speak Spanish and thus had very little her could actually contribute.

“Just passing by, paying a visit,” OBG replied mystically, nose up. Gord fought the urge to roll his eyes because he wasn’t supposed to understand English either.

“Do you want to come play Monopoly with us?” Joey asked and Gord just about died on the spot. In fact, he had what he likened to an out-of-body experience. It was as if his consciousness ascended from his corporeal being and he was able to look at himself while he stared back and forth between Joey and OBG in abject horror.

“Yes,” OBG accepted solemnly after another moment. Gord found it deeply ironic that he was attempting to show so much gravitas while standing in his underwear and an open bathrobe in a publically used hallway. Of course, him reflecting on this bitterly did nothing to change the fact that OBG followed him and Joey inside his apartment for a shockingly lengthy game of Monopoly with his friends, wherein he was forced to communicate in broken Spanish and individual, out of context words from other various languages. It didn’t help that Amare grinned at him smugly nearly the entire time.

“If she wasn’t interested before, she sure as hell isn’t now,” Finch told him very unhelpfully when the pair of them had gone to the kitchen to get more drinks for the group. Gord glared at him. He was well aware things were not going well. He didn’t need the reminder.

By the time there was a third knock on the door, Gord refused to be the one to answer it. Actually, he pretending he didn’t understand everybody else telling him to answer it. Gavin went instead and was consequently yelled at by Jacklyn because now they really were being too loud and it was past midnight. Gord took a lot of vindictive pleasure in someone else getting shouted at, but he wished it had been Amare.

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